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Jan 11 19

FOIA Activity: 57 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 57 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between December 30, 2018 and January 5, 2019. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. Pickering v. U. S. Department of Justice (filed Jan 1, 2019)
    Leslie Pickering submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning Native American activist Leonard Peltier. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Pickering filed an appeal with the Office of Information Policy. OIP upheld the FBI’s inaction, but the FBI then notified Pickering that it had 6,020 responsive pages that could be disclosed on CDs at a cost of $190 read more…
Jan 11 19

FOIA Activity: 3 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 3 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 30, 2018 and January 5, 2019. These are associated with 3 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. DC 1:2018cv01912FREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

    • January 4, 2019: MEMORANDUM OPINION re [15] Order. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 1/4/2019. (lcjeb2)
  2. read more…

Jan 11 19

FOIA Activity: 35 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 34 documents from 6 FOIA cases filed between December 23, 2018 and December 29, 2018. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. FRONT RANGE EQUINE RESCUE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR et al (filed Dec 27, 2018)
    Front Range Equine Rescue submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning communications between the agency and the U.S. Geological Survey pertaining to research on wild horses. FRER also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, FRER filed suit read more…
Jan 11 19

FOIA Activity: 1 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 1 decision of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 23, 2018 and December 29, 2018. These are associated with 1 FOIA case pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on the case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

Jan 11 19

Privacy International et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al and 18 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 182 documents from 18 FOIA cases filed between December 16, 2018 and December 22, 2018. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. Privacy International et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al (filed Dec 21, 2018)
    Privacy International, the ACLU and the Civil Liberties and Transparency Clinic submitted FOIA requests to the FBI and a number of other law enforcement agencies within the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Treasury for records concerning the use by law enforcement agencies of hacking techniques read more…
Jan 11 19

FOIA Activity: 8 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 8 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 16, 2018 and December 22, 2018. These are associated with 8 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAN 3:2018cv01782Cervantes Anguiano v. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    • December 21, 2018: SECOND ORDER RE: CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley on 12/21/2018. (ahm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/21/2018)
  2. read more…

Dec 19 18

Scrutinizing Attorney Fee Awards in FOIA Litigation

by FOIA Project Staff

Note: The FOIA Project wishes to thank Christine Mehta who prepared an initial draft of this report during her time as a Newhouse faculty member at Syracuse University.

A congressional report published in January 2016 found that “FOIA is broken,” and highlighted a culture within the federal government of “unlawful presumption in favor of secrecy when responding to Freedom of Information Act Requests. [1]” The report pointed to government abuse of FOIA exemptions to unlawfully withhold information, excessive fees, and delays in response time from agencies as the key factors in eroding public trust and use of the law. In the face of blatant dismissals of requests for information on the part of federal agencies, often the only channel for remedy is a lawsuit. “Requesters shouldn’t need a lawsuit to get responsive documents,” wrote the authors of the congressional report.

No, they shouldn’t. But they do.

The result is costly. In 2016, the Obama Administration reported it spent $36.2 million defending FOIA-related lawsuits. These costs rose to $40.7 million in FY 2017 – nearly double the level of $22.2 million during FY 2010 [2]. The government’s costs, however, fail to capture the cost to those bringing suits against federal agencies to enforce their right to information under FOIA. The year 2016 marked the 50-year anniversary of FOIA. To commemorate the landmark legislation, ProPublica published the article, “Delayed, Denied, Dismissed: Failures on the FOIA Front.”

Journalist Cezary Podkul wrote in the article, “Short of suing the agency – an expensive proposition that could take years if the agency actively resists and appeals when it loses – I can’t find out. [3]” Podkul’s statement is illustrative of the continued frustration with FOIA, and the reluctance to use the courts to force FOIA compliance.
read more…

Dec 19 18

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB JOURNALISM INSTITUTE et al v. U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT et al

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 88 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between December 9, 2018 and December 15, 2018. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. NATIONAL PRESS CLUB JOURNALISM INSTITUTE et al v. U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT et al (filed Dec 13, 2018)
    Kathy Kiely, Press Freedom Fellow at the National Press Club Journalism Institute, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning Emilio Gutierrez Soto, a Mexican journalist who had sought asylum in the U.S. and been denied asylum in 2017, and his son Oscar Gutierrez Soto read more…
Dec 19 18

FOIA Activity: 5 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 5 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 9, 2018 and December 15, 2018. These are associated with 5 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAE 2:2018cv00431(PS) Clavito v. U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs

    • December 10, 2018: ORDER DISMISSING CASE signed by Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman on 12/10/18 GRANTING [15] Motion to Dismiss. This action is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. CASE CLOSED. (Coll, A)
  2. read more…

Dec 14 18

GIBBONS v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and 19 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 115 documents from 18 FOIA cases filed between December 2, 2018 and December 8, 2018. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. GIBBONS v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Dec 5, 2018)
    Charles Gibbons, a free-lance journalist, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the International Solidarity Movement from 2001 to the present. Gibbons also requested inclusion in the news media fee category. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, told Gibbons it had located 1,396 potentially responsive pages, denied his request for news media fee status, and charged him $55 read more…
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