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JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on July 20th, 2017

We have added 59 documents from 15 FOIA cases filed between July 9, 2017 and July 15, 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 (filed Jul 14, 2017)
    The James Madison Project and Politico reporter Josh Gerstein submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice for records concerning any communications between DOJ and the FBI as to whether President Trump was a target of or a material witness to any investigation. The James Madison Project and Gerstein also requested expedited processing. The agency granted expedited processing but took a 10-day extension for unusual circumstances. The James Madison Project and Gerstein also submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records for the same information. The agency refused to confirm the existence or non-existence of records under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). The James Madison Project and Gerstein filed an administrative appeal of the FBI’s denial, which was upheld. The James Madison Project and Gerstein then filed suit on both requests.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. Clay v. Department of the Navy (filed Jul 10, 2017)
    Jeffrey Clay, a retired member of the Navy, filed suit against the Department of the Navy to obtain deliberative process materials the agency had withheld from him as part of his conviction.
    Issues: Exemption 5 – Privileges – Deliberative process privilege – Deliberative
  3. Animal Legal Defense Fund v. United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") et al (filed Jul 11, 2017)
    The Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted a FOIA request to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for records concerning its inspection of Tiger Truck Stop. ALDF also requested expedited processing. The agency denied its request for expedited processing. ALDF filed an administrative appeal of the denial of expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, ALDF filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  4. STORY OF STUFF PROJECT et al v. UNITED STATES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (filed Jul 11, 2017)
    The Story of Stuff Project and the Courage Campaign Institute submitted FOIA requests to the FDA for records concerning Nestle and Arrowhead and their relationship to San Bernardino National Forest. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and told the requesters that 11 other requests were in line for processing before theirs. After the agency did not respond to their requests, both the Story of Stuff Project and the Courage Campaign Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. Kibbe v. United States (filed Jul 11, 2017)
    Dean Kibbe sued the U.S. government alleging violations of law pertaining to the Covert Action Program, which Kibbe indicated was run by the U.S. Marines, and “Crack and Splatter,” a covert program run by the CIA. Kibbe does not appear to make any FOIA claim. This is not a FOIA case.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  6. Barton v. United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (filed Jul 12, 2017)
    Cody Barton submitted a FOIA request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for records concerning the report of a federal fisheries observer who witnessed an onboard accident in which Barton was permanently disabled. The agency withheld most of the report under Exemption 3 (other statutes), citing Section 402(b)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which provides for confidentiality of observer information. Barton filed an administrative appeal, which was denied. Barton then filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 3
  7. Reyes v. United States Department of the Interior et al (filed Jul 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for records concerning the agency’s decision on the tribal affiliation of a named individual. The agency withheld 10 documents in part. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  8. Reyes v. United States Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor et al (filed Jul 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted two FOIA requests to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for records concerning an individual who was a deceased member of the San Pasqual tribe. Reyes alleged that the agency failed to process either request, although it did assign a tracking number to his third request. Reyes filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Reyes filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  9. Reyes v. United States Department of Interior et al (filed Jul 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for records concerning 1928 California Indian blanket applications. The agency withheld 95 documents in full and 178 documents in part. Reyes then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. Reyes v. United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern California Agency (filed Jul 13, 2017)
    Emilio Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Indian Affairs 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
  11. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (filed Jul 13, 2017)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Agriculture for records concerning an Inspector General’s report entitled “NRCS: Wetland Conservation Provisions in the Prairie Pothole Region.” The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, PEER filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. Palm v. Mueller et al (filed Jul 13, 2017)
    Charlotte Palm filed suit against former FBI Director Robert Mueller and a number of other former and present government officials for various alleged constitutional violations. However, she does not make a FOIA claim. This is not a FOIA case.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  13. PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS, INC. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Jul 14, 2017)
    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals submitted a FOIA request to the National Institutes of Health for records concerning communications received or sent by the director of the NIH relating to maternal deprivation experiments conducted on rhesus macques at the NIH facility in Poolesville, Maryland. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after several inquiries pertaining to the status of the request were unsuccessful, PETA filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  14. Moore v. The United States Postal Service (filed Jul 14, 2017)
    Don Moore submitted two FOIA requests to the U.S. Postal Service. The first FOIA request was for fit for duty letters sent to a non-existent address in Syracuse, NY. The second FOIA request was for a reduced scope of letter for single exam date. The agency responded to both requests by indicating that it had found no records. Moore filed administrative appeals of the denials, but was allegedly told that he had missed the deadline for filing an appeal. He ultimately filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  15. Coleman v. CCI et al (filed Jul 14, 2017)
    Alvester Coleman filed suit against a number of companies for failing to disclose royalty payments stemming from a trust. This is not a FOIA case.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned

From → FOIA, PACER

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