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JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY et al and 13 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on June 30th, 2017

We have added 93 documents from 14 FOIA cases filed between June 18, 2017 and June 24, 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. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY et al (filed Jun 22, 2017)
    The James Madison Project and Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman of the Daily Beast submitted FOIA requests to the CIA and other intelligence agencies for records concerning President Trump’s decision to share classified information with Russian officials during a meeting at the White House. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after the James Madison Project heard nothing further from the agencies, it filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 18, 2017)
    Property of the People, a non-profit dedicated to government transparency, journalist Jason Leopold, and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted FOIA requests to the FBI for records concerning Donald Trump. The FBI issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records. The requesters filed administrative appeals with the Office of Information Policy. After hearing nothing further, Property of the People, Leopold, and Shapiro filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. Kingsley Brothers LLC et al v. US Department of Agriculture (filed Jun 19, 2017)
    Kingsley Brothers, an organic farm operator, submitted two FOIA requests to the Agricultural Marketing Service at the Department of Agriculture for records concerning the agency’s decision to revoke the farm’s organic certification. In response to its first FOIA request, the agency located 31 pages and disclosed them with redactions under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7 (law enforcement records). In response to its second FOIA request, the agency identified 424 pages, but withheld all of them under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). Kingsley Brothers filed administrative appeals of both responses, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Kingsley Brothers filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. Poulsen v. Department of Defense et al (filed Jun 19, 2017)
    Journalist Kevin Poulsen submitted a FOIA request to the National Security Agency, the FBI, and several other intelligence agencies for records concerning Donald Trump’s allegations that he had been wiretapped by the Obama administration. Several agencies invoked a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records. Other agencies granted or denied Poulsen’s request for expedited processing and a fee waiver. Poulsen appealed the agencies’ responses. The NSA denied his appeal. The Office of Information Policy at the Justice Department denied his appeal in regard to his request to the FBI, but had not acted on his appeal concerning the National Security Division. After hearing nothing further from the agencies, Poulsen filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  5. ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jun 19, 2017)
    The Environmental Integrity Project submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s meetings with outside parties, as well as his travel expenses. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. EIP contacted the agency to inquire about the status of its request. After the agency could not provide any further information, EIP filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY v. U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Jun 20, 2017)
    The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning Secretarial Order 3338, entitled “Discretionary Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Modernize the Federal Coal Program.” The Center for Biological Diversity sent a follow-up letter inquiring about the status of its request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. FREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 20, 2017)
    Freedom Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice and the FBI for records written or prepared by former FBI Director James Comey concerning Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Michael Flynn, and Donald Trump. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and asked Freedom Watch to clarify the request. Freedom Watch declined to do so. Freedom Watch then filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  8. American Civil Liberties Union et al v. Department of Justice (filed Jun 21, 2017)
    The ACLU submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for a memorandum entitled “Determining Whether Evidence is Derived from Surveillance under Title III or FISA,” and related records. The ACLU also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency located the 31-page memo, which it withheld entirely under Exemption 5 (deliberative process privilege). A two-page document was also withheld under Exemption 5, Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). The ACLU filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy. OIP upheld the denial, but explained that the memo fell under the attorney work-product privilege rather than under the deliberative process privilege. The ACLU then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  9. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jun 21, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning claims that the Clean Power Plan would prevent between 2,700 and 6,600 premature deaths. 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
  10. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jun 21, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning the agency’s use of the Thunderclap social media platform. 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
  11. Friends of Animals v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, The (filed Jun 22, 2017)
    Friends of Animals submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for records concerning the endangered status of Panthera leo melanochaita. The agency took a 10-day extension due to the voluminous nature of the request. The agency disclosed records in installments, but after Friends of Animals was unable to determine if the agency had provided all the records, it filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  12. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jun 22, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning communications with agricultural or business groups pertaining to a variety of pesticides. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told American Oversight that it was currently processing a similar request and asked if American Oversight would accept the results of that search as responsive to its request. American Oversight responded that it was willing to accept the results of the earlier search, but the agency would need to search further in relation to other parts of its request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, American Oversight filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. RUDISILL v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 23, 2017)
    Micah Rudisill submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for records concerning the agency’s involvement in United States v. Harrell. He provided a Privacy Act waiver signed by Harrell. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Rudisill filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  14. Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency (filed Jun 23, 2017)
    The Southeastern Legal Foundation submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and the potential influence of outside advocacy groups. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The agency subsequently told SLF that it had nearly completed its review of more than 500 documents. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, Southeastern Legal Foundation filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

From → FOIA, PACER

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