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GREENPEACE, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al and 10 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on March 23rd, 2017

We have added 68 documents from 11 FOIA cases filed between March 12, 2017 and March 18, 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. GREENPEACE, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Mar 16, 2017)
    Greenpeace submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate for records concerning a list of chemical facilities no longer considered high risk. The agency provided an interim response that it had located 123 pages but was withholding them entirely under Exemption 5 (privileges), Exemption 7(E) (investigative method and techniques), and Exemption 7(F) (harm to any person). Greenpeace filed an administrative appeal. The appeals office agreed with Greenpeace and told the agency to reprocess the request. However, the agency provided Greenpeace a list with most information redacted under Exemption 7(F). Greenpeace appealed that decision once more, but the appeals officer indicated it had no authority for force the agency to comply with its decision. Greenpeace then filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 7(F) – Harm to safety of any person, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. TRUSTEES OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION et al (filed Mar 17, 2017)
    The Trustees of Princeton University filed a reverse-FOIA suit against the Department of Education to block disclosure of records concerning an investigation of Princeton by the Office of Civil Rights to Students for Fair Admissions. The Education Department told Princeton that it would redact personally-identifying information under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). Students for Fair Admissions has filed suit against the Department of Education to force disclosure. Princeton filed suit primarily arguing that some of the information is protected by Exemption 4 (confidential business information).
    Issues: Litigation – Reverse-FOIA – Confidential business information
  3. Esquire Corporate Services, L.C. v. National Guard Bureau et al (filed Mar 13, 2017)
    Esquire Corporate Services submitted FOIA requests to the Air Force National Guard and the National Guard Bureau for records concerning the redesign and development of a new modernized Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System and the procurement of two new units. Esquire Corporate Services also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and told Esquire Corporate Services that its requests did not qualify for expedited processing. However, the agencies failed to allow Esquire Corporate Services to narrow its request to expedite its processing. Esquire Corporate Services then filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Request – Specificity
  4. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 13, 2017)
    Energy & Environmental Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences for records concerning the agency’s risk assessment of the chemical Glyphosate. EELI also requested a fee waiver. 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, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  5. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES et al (filed Mar 13, 2017)
    Cause of Action Institute submitted three FOIA requests to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning the agency’s obligations to taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency on any of its requests, Cause of Action Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION v. UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE (filed Mar 14, 2017)
    The National Parks Conservation Association submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Forest Service for records concerning environmental impact assessments of granting the Navy a special permit to operate three mobile emitters in the Olympic National Forest and other Forest Service land. The agency acknowledged the receipt, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the National Parks Conservation Association filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  7. The New York Times Company et al v. U.S.Secret Service (filed Mar 15, 2017)
    New York Times reporter Jeremy Merrill submitted three FOIA requests to the Secret Service for records concerning reimbursements made to the Trump and Clinton campaigns for airfare for Secret Service agents providing protection to the candidates. The Secret Service responded to Merrill’s first request concerning the Trump campaign, but withheld some information under Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Merrill filed an administrative appeal challenging the use of Exemption 7(E). After hearing nothing further from the agency concerning his administrative appeal or his other two requests, the New York Times filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Mar 16, 2017)
    Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning communications between FBI agents and former FBI assistant director James Kallstrom. The FBI issued a Glomar response, neither confirming nor denying the existence of records. CREW filed an administrative appeal. The Office of Information Policy upheld the FBI’s decision and CREW filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. Johnson v. Central Intelligence Agency (filed Mar 16, 2017)
    Adam Johnson, a free-lance journalist, submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for records concerning communications between the Office of Public Affairs and several reporters that had been requested in 2012 by reporter John Cook. The agency records released to Cook contained the journalists’ inquiries, but did not include the agency’s responses. Johnson asked the agency to reassess its position on its response to Cook. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Johnson filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. The New York Times Company et al v. U.S. Department Of Justice (filed Mar 16, 2017)
    New York Times reporter Charlie Savage submitted a FOIA request to the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice for records concerning review of President Trump’s executive orders or his staffing of the White House. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the New York Times filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE v. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (filed Mar 17, 2017)
    The National Security Archive submitted a FOIA request in 2009 to the Department of Defense for records concerning a series of internal memos issued by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from 2001-2006. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and agreed to process Rumsfeld’s memos. However, after waiting seven years for the agency to process the request, DOD still has not released any of the memos. The National Security Archive then filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

From → FOIA, PACER

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