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FOIA Activity: 184 new FOIA court documents

by Harry Hammitt on June 30th, 2017

We have added 175 documents from 33 FOIA cases filed between June 11, 2017 and June 17, 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. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Pacific Regional Office (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pacific Regional Office for records concerning two 1928 California Indian blanket applications. The agency disclosed 178 documents in part and withheld 95 documents entirely. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  2. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern California Agency (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency for records concerning San Pasqual applications for 10 named individuals. The agency withheld all responsive records. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  3. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Western Regional Office (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency for records concerning the agency’s response to several San Pasqual applications. The agency disclosed nine documents with redactions. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  4. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern California Agency (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency for records concerning enrollment applications for a named individual. The agency withheld two documents in full. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  5. NATIONAL WOMEN'S LAW CENTER v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (filed Jun 12, 2017)
    The National Women’s Law Center submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Education for records concerning sexual harassment complaints pending before the agency’s Office for Civil Rights. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the National Women’s Law Center filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 12, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning interviews of Tom Blanoff during the investigation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The agency told Judicial Watch that because third-party privacy interests were present it would not process the request without a showing of public interest. The FBI concluded that Judicial Watch had not shown a public interest in disclosure of the records. Judicial Watch filed an administrative appeal, 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. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS v. UNITED STATES BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    WildEarth Guardians submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning a section in Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s Secretarial Order 3349 that pertained to waste prevention, production subject to royalties, and resource conservation. After hearing nothing further from the agency, WildEarth Guardians filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS v. UNITED STATES OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    WildEarth Guardians submitted a FOIA request to the Office of Surface Mining for records concerning a section in Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s Secretarial Order 3349 requiring agency components to report on regulatory burdens. After hearing nothing further from the agency, WildEarth Guardians filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS et al v. ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    WildEarth Guardians and Kootenai Environmental Alliance submitted four FOIA requests to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for records concerning the lethal control of coyotes, bears, and wolves. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and made partial responses to several of them. However, after the agency failed to provide substantive responses to any of the requests, WildEarth Guardians and Kootenai Environmental Alliance filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. KWOKA v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Jun 14, 2017)
    Margaret Kwoka, a professor at the University of Denver Law School, submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning a list of FOIA requests received by the agency in FY 2015, including information about the processing of the requests. The IRS provided some of the data requested by Kwoka, but withheld personally-identifying information under Exemption 3 (other statutes) and Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). Kwoka filed an administrative appeal, which the agency denied. Kwoka then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION (filed Jun 14, 2017)
    The Center for Public Integrity submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Election Commission for records concerning the agency’s Twitter account. The agency disclosed seven documents and withheld 14 documents. CPI filed an administrative appeal, which was denied. CPI submitted a second FOIA request for records concerning policies for retaining emails of senior officials. The agency indicated that it had found responsive records, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, CPI filed suit on both requests.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 15, 2017)
    The Campaign Legal Center submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning its decision to reverse the Obama administration’s decision to phase out the use of private prisons. CLC also requested expedited processing and inclusion in the news media fee category. The agency granted CLC’s request for expedited processing, but after the agency failed to provide any substantive response to the request, the Campaign Legal Center filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Fee Category – Media or Educational, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. RICHARDSON v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 12, 2017)
  14. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Jun 16, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and OMB for records concerning various aspects of the costs and consequences of building a border wall. None of the agencies had responded to the requests by the time American Oversight filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  15. BARTON et al v. U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY et al (filed Jun 16, 2017)
    Anne Barton, Carol Grunewald, and Mary Rowse submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey for records concerning the reasons for killing deer in Rock Creek Park to encourage the regeneration of the forest. The USGS withheld more than 2500 pages under Exemption 5 (privileges). The requesters filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Barton, Grunewald, and Rowse filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  16. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 16, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning conversations between former FBI Director James Comey and President Trump. 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
  17. ALLEN v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 16, 2017)
    Isaac Allen, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records concerning losses suffered by banks. EOUSA took a 10-day extension. Allen also submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons for records concerning the agency’s decision to place him on a security threat list in 2011. BOP disclosed 6 pages in full and one page in part. It withheld 39 pages entirely. Allen filed an administrative appeal, which was denied. Allen then filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  18. BELL v. BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO & FIREARMS (filed Jun 15, 2017)
    Jermaine Bell, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for records concerning the homicides of several individuals in Baltimore. The agency denied his request under Exemption 7(A) (ongoing investigation or proceeding). Bell filed an administrative appeal, which was denied. Bell then filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 7(A) – Interference with ongoing investigation
  19. Osen LLC v. United States Central Command (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Osen LLC, a law firm representing hundreds of service members and family members who were killed or wounded by Iranian-backed terrorists, submitted FOIA requests to U.S. Central Command for a list of attacks against coalition forces in Iraq that identify Explosively Formed Penetrators. The agency provided six documents that responded to parts of its requests, but not all of them. After several inquiries concerning the requests were unsatisfactory, Osen finally filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  20. The New York Times Company et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (filed Jun 16, 2017)
    New York Times reporter Charlie Savage submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning notes and memos memorializing former FBI Director James Comey’s conversations with President Trump. 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
  21. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request for records concerning the final determination of a named individual’s tribal application. The agency disclosed 38 partially redacted documents. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  22. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern California Agency (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency for records concerning determinations pertaining to several named individuals’ San Pasqual applications. The agency disclosed 10 redacted documents. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  23. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Pacific Regional Office (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pacific Regional Office for records concerning two 1928 California Indian blanket applications. The agency withheld 12 documents in full. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  24. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Western Regional Office (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Regional Office for records concerning censuses for the Papago Indians from 1920-1940. The agency withheld 1,005 documents in full. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  25. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Pacific Regional Office (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pacific Regional Office for records concerning two 1928 California Indian blanket applications. The agency withheld 14 documents in full. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  26. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern California Agency (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency for records concerning the tribal affiliation of a named individual. The agency withheld 31 documents in full and 12 documents in part. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  27. Reyes v. Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern California Agency (filed Jun 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency for records concerning probate of several named Mesa Grande and San Pasqual descendants. The agency withheld nine documents in full and 23 documents in part. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  28. WHITE COAT WASTE PROJECT v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (filed Jun 14, 2017)
    White Coat Waste Project submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for records concerning the care and use of dogs at laboratories at McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The agency disclosed records with personally-identifying information, including that of vendors, redacted under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(F) (harm to any person). WCWP filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, White Coat Waste Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  29. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS v. U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Jun 14, 2017)
    WildEarth Guardians submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning the agency’s decision to deny a petition submitted by WildEarth Guardians to review its oil and gas leasing program. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, WildEarth Guardians filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  30. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS v. U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Jun 14, 2017)
    WildEarth Guardians submitted a FOIA request to five state offices of the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning a 2016 lawsuit filed by Western Energy Alliance against the agency. The regional offices acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, WildEarth Guardians filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  31. Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Jun 15, 2017)
    The Center for Biological Diversity submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning environmental impact statements pertaining to construction of a border wall. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agencies, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  32. CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC. v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (filed Jun 15, 2017)
    CNN submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning notes taken by former FBI Director James Comey of his conversations with President Trump. CNN requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The FBI granted CNN’s request for a fee waiver, but denied its request for expedited processing. CNN appealed the denial of expedited processing to the Office of Information Policy, which reversed the FBI’s denial. The FBI told CNN it was searching for the memos, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, CNN filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  33. GANNETT SATELLITE INFORMATION NETWORK, LLC et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 15, 2017)
    Gannett Satellite News, publisher of USA Today. and reporter Brad Heath submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning conversations between former FBI Director James Comey and President Trump. Heath also asked for expedited processing and inclusion in the news media fee category. The agency granted USA Today’s request for expedited processing and inclusion in the news media fee category. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Gannett Satellite News and Heath filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 9 documents from 4 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  1. LAWRENCE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 9, 2017)
    Lawrence, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning his conviction for murder. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The agency reviewed 1,573 pages, disclosing 841 pages with redactions and withholding 732 pages. Lawrence filed an administrative appeal, which was denied. Lawrence then filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 7 – Law enforcement records
  2. Maanao v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (filed Jun 4, 2017)
  3. MOORE v. U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT et al (filed Jun 2, 2017)
  4. CASEY v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE et al (filed May 30, 2017)
    Brian Casey, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning the agency’s investigation of his taxes and those of his company. After the agency failed to respond, Casey filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit

From → FOIA, PACER

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