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AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al and 16 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on April 27th, 2017

We have added 98 documents from 16 FOIA cases filed between April 16, 2017 and April 22, 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. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Apr 19, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning communications between White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus or anyone acting on his behalf and the FBI pertaining to its investigation of possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. American Oversight also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. American Oversight also submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the background check for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to obtain a security clearance. American Oversight also requested expedited processing for its request pertaining to Attorney General Sessions. After hearing nothing further from the agency, American Oversight filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  2. ORTIZ-MIRANDA v. CRIMINAL DIVISON OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Apr 17, 2017)
    Raul Ortiz-Miranda, a federal prisoner, submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice for records about his conviction. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after more than two years without a response, Ortiz-Miranda filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. Ramdeo v. Pleasant et al (filed Apr 21, 2017)
    Sonny Austin Ramdeo, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons for his transfer form. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after Ramdeo filed several complaints concerning the agency’s failure to respond, he filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (filed Apr 17, 2017)
    Cause of Action Institute submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning payments made to Christopher Steele. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and placed the Cause of Action Institute in the news media fee category. After hearing nothing more from the agency, Cause of Action Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. NISKANEN CENTER, INC. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (filed Apr 17, 2017)
    The Niskanen Center submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Energy seeking records from the National Coal Council, an advisory committee established by the agency. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and asked the Niskanen Center if it was requesting a fee waiver. The agency granted the Niskanen Center a fee waiver, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Niskanen Center filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. FLORY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Apr 17, 2017)
    Grayson Flory, who publishes the Earth First Journal, submitted FOIA requests to the FBI for records about his publication, himself and his two co-owners. The FBI acknowledged receipt of the requests. The agency indicated that it could find no records for one request, but found more than 1400 pages pertaining to another co-owner. After Flory was dissatisfied with the agency’s failure to resolve the remaining requests, he filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. Thomas Burton v. John F. Kelly (filed Apr 18, 2017)
    Thomas Burton submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning himself that had been submitted by Juxia Qin, a Chinese citizen whom Burton brought to the United States to marry him. Instead, she took advantage of him and accused him of battering her. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Burton filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  8. Montes Bojorquez v. United States Customs and Border Protection et al (filed Apr 18, 2017)
    Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning his removal from the United States to Mexico after believing he was eligible to stay in the United States because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program instituted during the Obama administration. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency. Montes Bojorquez filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  9. ALLIED PROGRESS v. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (filed Apr 18, 2017)
    Allied Progress submitted a FOIA request to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for records concerning correspondence between the agency and 12 listed U.S. Senators. Allied Progress also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, denied Allied Progress’s request for expedited processing, and indicated it would address Allied Progress’s request for a fee waiver later. Allied Progress submitted a second FOIA request to the agency for correspondence from a number of employees concerning various individuals or organizations. Allied Progress requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged the second request, denied Allied Progress’s request for expedited processing and indicated it would consider its request for a fee waiver later. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Allied Progress filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  10. AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE v. U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (filed Apr 18, 2017)
    The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee submitted FOIA requests to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning policies related to Global Entry revocations, suspensions, terminations, and confirmations. The Anti-Discrimination Committee also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Anti-Discrimination Committee filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. Berry v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al (filed Apr 18, 2017)
    Jason Berry, a former probation and parole officer for the State of Hampshire, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records about himself. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Berry also submitted a FOIA request to a state agency. The FBI apparently tried to contact Berry at his parents’ home. Berry contacted the FBI agent and asked why he had tried to contact him at his parents’ home. After hearing nothing further from the agent, Berry filed suit. Although he cites FOIA as one basis for his claim, his primary claims are under the Privacy Act.
    Issues: FOIA mentioned only tangentially
  12. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Apr 19, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the FBI and the National Security Division of the Justice Department for records concerning any applications for FISA warrants to surveil Trump Tower or anyone connected with the Trump campaign. American Oversight also requested expedited processing. Both agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests. The National Security Division denied American Oversight’s request for expedited processing and told the organization that it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of records without revealing classified information. American Oversight filed an administrative appeal of NSD’s decision with the Office of Information Policy. OIP upheld NSD’s response. After hearing nothing further from the FBI, American Oversight filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  13. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. US DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al (filed Apr 19, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development for records concerning funds paid to the Foundation Open Society Macedonia and any contacts or correspondence with the organization. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from either agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  14. Nation v. Shulkin et al (filed Apr 20, 2017)
    Samuel Nation submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for his claims file. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after it failed to respond, Nation filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Nation filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  15. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Office of Management and Budget (filed Apr 20, 2017)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to OMB for records concerning the implementation of President Trump’s executive order on reducing regulations and curbing costs. NRDC also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, NRDC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  16. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (filed Apr 21, 2017)
    Cause of Action Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Defense for records concerning the use of a personal email account by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Cause of Action Institute also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, granted Cause of Action Institute’s request for expedited processing, and told Cause of Action Institute that the agency had already processed and posted Carter’s emails online. Cause of Action Institute filed an administrative appeal, arguing that the publicly posted emails did not respond to all parts of its request. DOD agreed, and remanded the request for further search. 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

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

From → FOIA, PACER

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