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108 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on December 3, 2013

We have added 108 documents from 16 FOIA cases filed between November 17, 2013 and November 30, 2013. 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. SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION v. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (filed Nov 18, 2013)
    The Sunlight Foundation requested a database of all notices posted on FedBizOps from January 2000 to May 2013. The Sunlight Foundation requested a fee waiver. Although it originally cited fees of $3,165, the agency ultimately decided to waive fees and indicated that it would upload the data to Sunlight Foundations FTP server. The agency further noted that point of contact data for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security would be deleted, although it never explained to the Sunlight Foundation the statutory basis for the deletion. The records were never uploaded and after hearing nothing further from the agency, Sunlight Foundation filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, improper withholding, attorneys fees
  2. PERKINS COIE LLP v. MCCARTHY (filed Nov 18, 2013)
    Perkins Coie submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records related to the agencys Renewable Fuel Standard Program. The agency initially denied the request, indicating the information had been claimed as confidential business information by the submitters and that the agency would have to provide notice to the submitters to give them an opportunity to substantiate their initial claims. Perkins Coie filed an administrative appeal, arguing the agency could not invoke a blanket claim under Exemption 4. After hearing nothing further concerning its appeal, the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, production of Vaughn index, attorneys fees
  3. Basiliali v. United States of America et al (filed Nov 18, 2013)
    Basiliali was married to Gregory Scott Williams, a member of the U.S. Marines Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton. After their marriage, she returned to Hawaii, where she fell ill, but was unable to get coverage through her husbands military insurance. Her husband allegedly continued to live with another woman at Camp Pendleton. Basiliali filed a complaint against Williams, which was apparently investigated by authorities at Camp Pendleton. She was told her claims were found to be unsubstantiated, but she was unable to get a copy of the investigation results. Williams apparently filed for divorce in Alabama, which was granted. Basiliali then requested the investigation records under FOIA. The records were released with substantial redactions. Basiliai filed suit alleging violations of FOIA, the Privacy Act, and various constitutional claims. Issues: improper withholding, attorneys fees
  4. RAJKOVIC v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al (filed Nov 19, 2013)
    Rajkovic, a resident of Belgrade, Serbia, requested FBI records on John F. Kennedy, Jr. The FBI denied her request because the records had been previously disclosed and were available on the agencys website. Rajkovic appealed to OIP, which upheld the FBIs decision. Rajkovic argued that she had requested records back to 1981 and that a paperback of the FBIs records on John F. Kennedy, Jr. was only available in the United Kingdom and only in English. Issues: improper withholding
  5. Systems Integrated Analyst, Inc. v. ABC News Corp. et al (filed Nov 20, 2013)
    The docket sheet lists this case as being filed with FOIA as the cause of action. However, it is not a FOIA case, but appears to be a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  6. Systems Integrated Analyst, Inc. v. CBS News Corp. et al (filed Nov 20, 2013)
    The docket sheet lists this case as being filed with FOIA as the cause of action. However, it is not a FOIA case, but appears to be a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  7. Systems Integrated Analyst, Inc. v. Fox News Corp. et al (filed Nov 20, 2013)
    The docket sheet lists this case as being filed with FOIA as the cause of action. However, it is not a FOIA case, but appears to be a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  8. CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON (filed Nov 21, 2013)
    CREW requested from Treasury any opinions or memos discussing in any way the Presidents authority to raise the debt ceiling without congressional authority. CREW also asked for expedited processing. CREW filed suit after hearing nothing further from the agency.
    Issues: expedited processing, disclosure of non-exempt records, expedited proceedings, attorneys fees
  9. ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Nov 22, 2013)
    EPIC requested any memos written by the Justice Departments Office of Legal Counsel concerning the legal basis for the governments PRISM program, which allows direct access by the FBI and NSA in real time to data held by Microsoft, Google, and other similar companies. EPIC also requested expedited processing, as well as news media status and a public interest fee waiver. OLC acknowledged receipt of EPICs request and indicated that it had granted EPICs request for expedited processing, but had not yet acted on EPICs request for a fee waiver. After 40 days, EPIC filed an administrative appeal with OIP. OIP indicated that since no adverse action had been taken yet it would not decide EPICs appeal. EPIC then filed suit.
    Issues: constructive exhaustion of administrative remedies, disclosure of non-exempt records, production of Vaughn index, attorneys fees
  10. Patterson v. United States Department of Justice (filed Nov 22, 2013)
    Patterson made a series of requests to the Department of Justice for information about the Special Litigation Section in April 1978. The agency failed to respond to his requests and he filed suit. Issues: improper withholding
  11. Citizen Action et al v. National Nuclear Security Administration Service Center et al (filed Nov 22, 2013)
    Citizen Action requested records concerning the safety of the three nuclear facilities at Sandia National Laboratories from the National Nuclear Security Administration Service. The agency indicated it expected to complete the request in 19 months. Citizen Action requested expedited processing and filed suit after hearing nothing further from the agency.
    Issues: improper withholding, pattern and practice of violating FOIA, attorneys fees
  12. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Nov 25, 2013)
    Judicial Watch requested information about the number of individuals who had signed up for healthcare through the healthcare.gov website between Oct. 1 and Oct. 4, 2013. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but took no further action before the time limits expired. Judicial Watch then filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records, production of Vaughn index for any records withheld, attorneys fees
  13. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION et al v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Nov 26, 2013)
    The ACLU submitted two FOIA requests to the CIA. The first request asked for the Senate Select Intelligence Committees investigative report on the now-discontinued program of rendition, detention, torture, and other abuses of detainees. The second request asked for the CIAs response to the Senate report. Both requests asked for a fee waiver and for expedited processing. The CIA responded to the first request for the Senate report by indicating that the report was not an agency record. The CIA initially misinterpreted the second request as identical to the first request, but after discussions with the ACLU agreed to waive fees and process the request. However, the CIA took no further action on the request and the ACLU filed suit.
    Issues: agency record, improper withholding, fee waiver, expedited processing, attorneys fees
  14. ASHLEY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Nov 26, 2013)
    Jonathan Ashley, a reference librarian at the University of Virginia law school, requested a non-prosecution agreement between the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of Texas and ABC Professional Tree Services from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and asked for expedited processing. The agency did not respond to Ashleys request for expedited processing, but denied his request in full, citing Exemption 4 (confidential business information), Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), and Exemption 7(D) (confidential sources). Ashley appealed the denial to the Office of Information Policy. OIP upheld EOUSAs denial, concluding that Exemption 7(D) did not apply, but added Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceedings) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques) as applicable exemptions. Ashley then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, expedited proceedings, attorneys fees
  15. DETROIT INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE COMPANY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al (filed Nov 26, 2013)
    Detroit International Bridge Co. made a number of requests to the State Department for records relevant to its ongoing litigation against the U.S. and Canadian governments challenging decisions blocking its ability to expand the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario into a twin-span bridge. While eleven of its requests were sent to State, the company also made several requests to the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard. None of the agencies responded fully to the requests and the company filed suit against all three agencies.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records, attorneys fees
  16. HERNANDEZ ANDOJAR v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Nov 27, 2013)
    Andujar requested records from the DEA about himself pertaining to seizures of currency in 1991, 1995, and 2000. DEAs response indicated that it had found 9 investigative files pertaining to Andujar, but that only one file had been processed. The agency said it would process the other eight files, but that Andujar would be responsible for paying fees of $896 to cover the cost of searching seven of the remaining files and that the agency might not disclose any information as the result of the searches. Andujar paid the $896 in fees and the DEA indicated his requests were part of a backlog. Andujar heard nothing further from the agency. He made a similar request to EOUSA. That agency acknowledged receipt of the request but Andujar heard nothing further from EOUSA. He contacted the Office of Government Information Services on both the DEA and EOUSA requests, but OGIS was unable to find out anything more definite about the processing of the requests. He then filed suit.!
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records, expedited proceedings, attorneys fees
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