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JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al and 9 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on March 9th, 2017

We have added 61 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between February 26, 2017 and March 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. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Mar 3, 2017)
    The James Madison Project and Daily Beast Reporter Noah Shachtman submitted a FOIA request to the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice for any records concerning discussions between OLC and the Trump White House pertaining to the legality of President Trump’s Jan. 27 travel ban. JMP and Shachtman also submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security and four of its components concerning implementation of the travel ban. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agencies, JMP and Shachtman filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. Newland Entities, Inc. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (filed Feb 27, 2017)
    Newland Entities, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for emails and communications between a number of people in the agency’s Sacramento office concerning the agency’s contract with Newland Entities. The agency asked Newland Entities to narrow its request. Newland Entities narrowed the time frame. However, the agency told Newland Entities that its request was still too broad and would be unduly burdensome. Newland Entities then filed suit.
    Issues: Choice of format – Burdensome, Request – Specificity
  3. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Feb 27, 2017)
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for electronic communications between specific agency employees that mentioned China from April 2016 to January 2017. EELI narrowed the request by indicating that it did not want press clippings or opinion pieces, but emails with substantive comments about China. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EELI filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. FOUNDATION FOR FAIR CONTRACTING-C.H.O.I.C.E. v. NASA (filed Feb 28, 2017)
    The Foundation for Fair Contracting submitted a FOIA request to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for payroll records for contractors and subcontractors performing construction work at the Goddard Space Center. FFC revised its request to ask only for payroll records for SEMI and Tobar Construction. NASA told FFC that it would disclose the payroll records for Tobar Construction with redactions of personal information under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). As to the payroll records for SEMI, the general contractor, NASA said it would withhold the payroll records entirely, citing Exemption 6 and Exemption 4 (confidential business information). NASA subsequently modified its Exemption 4 claims, but continued to withhold some information under Exemption 4. FFC filed an administrative appeal challenging the Exemption 4 claims as well as the Exemption 6 claims to the extent they pertained to information other than identification of employees. NASA upheld its original decision and FFC filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. WEISBROD MATTEIS & COPLEY PLLC v. FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (filed Feb 28, 2017)
    The law firm of Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, representing claimants in a suit against the government concerning the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, submitted FOIA requests to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records concerning the cleanup after Hurricane Sandy. After the agency failed to respond, the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. Ditech Financial, LLC et al v. Henley (filed Feb 28, 2017)
    Ditech Financial filed suit against James Henley to resolve disputes arising from a bankruptcy proceeding. This is not a FOIA case.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  7. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY et al (filed Mar 3, 2017)
    Cause of Action Institute submitted three FOIA requests to the IRS for records concerning certain IRS policies. Cause of Action Institute also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and took a 10-day extension for each, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Cause of Action Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Mar 3, 2017)
    The James Madison Project and Politico Reporters Ken Vogel and Josh Gerstein submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security and various components for records concerning implementation of President Trump’s Jan. 27 travel ban. The requesters indicated that they would not challenge the redaction of personal information of government employees below the GS-14 level. The Department of Homeland Security and the component agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, JMP, Vogel, and Gerstein filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  9. COCA COLA COMPANY & SUBSIDIARIES v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Mar 3, 2017)
    Coca Cola submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning the agency’s use of Horst Frisch, Inc. to assist in the examination of Coca Cola’s taxes for 2005-2009. Coca Cola also requested records concerning the Royalty Closing Agreement and the agency’s interpretation of 26 U.S.C. Section 482 with respect to tax years 1987-2004. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and took a 10-day extension. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Coca Cola filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 5 documents from 1 case, with an earlier filing date, that has recently appeared on PACER.

From → FOIA, PACER

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