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JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al and 7 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on January 12th, 2017

We have added 53 documents from 8 FOIA cases filed between January 1, 2017 and January 7, 2017. 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. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al (filed Jan 5, 2017)
    The James Madison Project and journalist Shane Harris submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Defense for records of communications between the agencies and the Government of Ecuador pertaining to Julian Assange. The CIA refused to confirm or deny the existence of records. JMP filed an administrative appeal. ONDI responded that it had no records. JMP filed an administrative appeal of that decision as well. Both the State Department and the Department of Defense acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from any of the agencies, JMP and Harris filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. LEOPOLD v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jan 1, 2017)
    Journalist Jason Leopold submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the agency’s contacts with the news media and the entertainment industry pertaining to its portrayal in the media. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and Leopold agreed to limit his request to those records found at the Office of Public Affairs. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, Leopold filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. LEOPOLD v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Jan 1, 2017)
    Journalist Jason Leopold submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for all volumes of the CIA internal newsletter published in 2016. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and asked Leopold to identify the name of the publication. Leopold indicated he was seeking copies of “What’s News.” After hearing nothing further from the agency, Leopold filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC. v. UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE (filed Jan 3, 2017)
    The American Center for Equitable Treatment submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for records supporting the agency’s submission to OMB regarding a patent updating memo. The agency disclosed 1100 pages, but withheld a large amount of information under Exemption 5 (privileges). The American Center also claimed the agency had not responded to other parts of its request. Although the denial letter indicated that the American Center could appeal within 90 days, the agency denied its appeal which it had submitted within 90 days because it was received later than 30 days after the agency’s adverse determination. The American Center then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  5. The New York Times Company et al v. U.S Department of Justice (filed Jan 4, 2017)
    New York Times reporter Charlie Savage submitted a FOIA request to the National Security Division of the Department of Justice for documents from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court docket that resulted in an order to Yahoo in 2015 directing it to use its email scanning system to search for a cyber-identifier. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, the New York Times and Savage filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES CHEMICAL SAFET BOARD (filed Jan 5, 2017)
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board for communications sent by Board member Richard Engler to or from five named individuals. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, EELI filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jan 5, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for emails sent by DOJ official Peter Kadnik to John Podesta or any other individual involved with the Clinton campaign. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  8. Schoeffler v. United States Department of Agriculture (filed Jan 6, 2017)
    Fred Schoeffler submitted a FOIA request to the U.S Forest Service for voice recordings or written transcripts related to the Yarnell Hill fire and an aerial firefighting study. The agency disclosed a CD containing 584 pages about Schoeffler’s firefighting experience, which he believed was not responsive to his request. Schoeffler submitted another FOIA request for records concerning himself and the Yarnell Hill fire. He appealed the agency’s response to his first request as well. The agency acknowledged receipt of his appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Schoeffler filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

From → FOIA, PACER

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