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SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER v. UNITED STATES AIR FORCE GLOBAL STRIKE COMMAND et al and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on February 9th, 2017

We have added 64 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between January 29, 2017 and February 4, 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. SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER v. UNITED STATES AIR FORCE GLOBAL STRIKE COMMAND et al (filed Feb 3, 2017)
    Speaking Truth to Power submitted a FOIA request to the Air Force Global Strike Command for records concerning a report prepared for President Obama assessing the capability of a rogue actor to hack into the U.S. nuclear arsenal and launch an attack. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and Speaking Truth to Power had various contacts with the agency concerning the processing of the request. However, after the agency failed to respond, Speaking Truth to Power filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  2. MICHAEL v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jan 31, 2017)
    Gerald Michael, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records about himself. The agency disclosed some records. Michael filed an administrative appeal and the agency’s denial was upheld. Michael also submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for records about himself. The agency denied the request. After Michael appealed, the agency upheld the denial. Michael then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Jan 30, 2017)
    The James Madison Project, Ken Vogel and Josh Gerstein of Politico submitted a FOIA request to the Secret Service for records concerning any security-sharing issues between the Secret Service and President Donald Trump’s personal security team. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but had not responded before JMP and Gerstein filed suit. JMP, Vogel, and Gerstein also submitted a FOIA request to the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security for the records relating to security-sharing issues. After hearing nothing further from either agency, JMP and Gerstein filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc. v. United States Department of Housing And Urban Development (filed Jan 30, 2017)
    The Southeastern Legal Foundation submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for communications between HUD and the Cities of Nashville and Franklin concerning affordable housing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Foundation filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. STEIN v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY et al (filed Jan 31, 2017)
    Journalist Jeffrey Stein submitted FOIA requests to the CIA and a number of other agencies for records concerning discussions to provide 15 individuals associated with the Trump campaign and presidency with access to classified information. Stein also requested expedited processing. The CIA issued a Glomar response, neither confirming nor denying access. The other agencies failed to respond to the expedited processing requests or the substance of the request. Stein then filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Jan 31, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning any attempts to obtain diplomatic passports for Douglas Band, Justin Cooper, and a third individual as referenced in a July 2009 email exchange between Band and former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin. 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
  7. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Jan 31, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning the agency’s search and processing of a previous FOIA request submitted by Judicial Watch in May 2014. 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. CRESTEK, INC et al v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Jan 31, 2017)
    Crestek, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning the agency’s administrative audit of Crestek. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and continued to indicate to Crestek that it would need more time to process the request. Six months later, Crestek submitted a supplemental FOIA request for records concerning communications of various IRS staffers who worked on the audit. The agency acknowledged receipt of Crestek’s second FOIA request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency Crestek filed suit. Crestek originally filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in September 2016. However, the case has now been transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  9. Grynberg et al v. U.S. Department of Justice (filed Jan 31, 2017)
    Jack Grynberg and Grynberg Petroleum Company submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning U.S. v. Giffen. The request was referred to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, which denied the request under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). Grynberg appealed, arguing that he was only interested in public records filed as part of the case. EOUSA opened a new request for public records, but later denied it on the basis that there were no public records in the case. Grynberg appealed again and his request was remanded to EOUSA for a further search. On remand, EOUSA requested a fee payment of $5,920, which Grynberg provided. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, Grynberg filed suit. The case was originally filed in October 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, the jurisdiction in which Grynberg and his company are located. However, the case has been transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where Grynberg’s law firm is located.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. HODES v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY et al (filed Feb 1, 2017)
    Scott Hodes submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning the request for proposal for a contract for private debt collection awarded to four separate companies and copies of the awarded contracts. The IRS disclosed the records, but withheld 25 pages in the contracts under Exemption 4 (confidential business information) and Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). Hodes filed an administrative appeal challenging the Exemption 4 withholdings. The agency upheld its decision and Hodes filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 4, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Sanctions
  11. Baldwin v. Snyder et al (filed Feb 1, 2017)
    Dorian Baldwin, a disable veteran, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for his claims file, after the agency denied his claim for extended disability benefits. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Baldwin filed an administrative appeal. However, after hearing nothing further, Baldwin filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. Oronde London v. City of Redlands (filed Feb 2, 2017)
    Oronde London requested building permits from the City of Redlands. After the City failed to respond to any of his requests, London filed suit. While London may have a cause of action under the California Public Records Act, he does not have a cause of action under the federal FOIA which does not applies to states or municipalities.
    Issues: Litigation – Jurisdiction – Failure to State a Claim
  13. HEYDARI v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (filed Feb 2, 2017)
    Nicole Heydari submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Commerce for emails concerning her employment at the agency for use in her employment discrimination claim against the agency. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Heydari filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 2 documents from 2 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

From → FOIA, PACER

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