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Collier v. Federal Communications Commission and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on August 4th, 2017

We have added 107 documents from 15 FOIA cases filed between July 23, 2017 and July 29, 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. Collier v. Federal Communications Commission (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    Kevin Collier, an investigative journalist, submitted two FOIA requests to the Federal Communications Commission for records concerning the crash of its website after John Oliver urged viewers to comment in favor of net neutrality. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and granted Collier expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Collier filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. NATIONAL WHISTLEBLOWER CENTER v. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR et al (filed Jul 24, 2017)
    The National Whistleblower Center submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for records concerning the Lacey Act Reward Fund. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and later listed the request as completed. However, after the Center contacted the FOIA office it found its request had not been completed. The Center filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Center filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. Hughes v. United States Department of Justice (filed Jul 25, 2017)
    Raymond Hughes sued the Department of Justice for access to criminal history information about Andrew Hughes, who was apparently an heir to an estate. Hughes argued that he should be considered the personal representative of Andrew Hughes.
    Issues: Exemption 7(C) – Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records
  4. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted two FOIA requests to the Federal Communications Commission for records concerning net neutrality. One request asked for records of meetings FCC staff held pertaining to net neutrality. The second FOIA request asked for records of communications between the office of Chairman Ajit Pai and members of Congress. American Oversight requested expedited processing for both requests, which the agency granted. The agency asked for a one-month extension, which American Oversight granted. However, after the agency asked for a second extension, American Oversight refused. It then filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning acting director Andrew McCabe. 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
  6. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning discussion of any ethical issues pertaining to the involvement of acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and his wife Jill in political campaigns. 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
  7. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning any communications between acting director Andrew McCabe and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic National Committee, or the Democratic Party of Virginia. 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
  8. REYES v. UNITED STATES NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    Feliciana Reyes submitted a FOIA request to the National Archives and Records Administration for records concerning the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund. Reyes also requested expedited processing. NARA denied Reyes’ request for expedited processing. Reyes filed an administrative appeal pertaining to the agency’s failure to respond. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Reyes filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    Pubic Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for all Cooperative Law Enforcement Agreements currently in effect between BLM and local law enforcement agencies. 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
  10. GARDEN STATE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Jul 27, 2017)
    The Garden State Life Insurance Company submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for records concerning two alien file numbers related to Christaine Bossoma, a naturalized U.S. citizen who had died in the Ivory Coast in 2008 after her family had taken out a life insurance policy on her. The company supplied a copy of her death certificate, which it had received as part of litigation brought by her family to enforce the insurance policy. The agency disclosed 50 pages, but redacted identifying information about Bossoma’s parents. The agency also told the company that the second alien file number did not relate to Bossoma. The company then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  11. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jul 27, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records of any metadata for notes memorializing former FBI Director James Comey’s meetings and phone conversations with 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
  12. Alexander-Stokes v. United States Department of Justice (filed Jul 27, 2017)
    Benida Alexander-Stokes, the daughter of Bertram Alexander, a federal prisoner who died while incarcerated, submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons for records concerning her father’s grievances and the agency’s responses. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Alexander-Stokes filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. First Liberty Institute v. Department of the Air Force et al (filed Jul 27, 2017)
    The First Liberty Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting religious freedoms, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Air Force for records concerning an investigation into allegations that Oscar Rodriquez was assaulted and physically removed from the retirement ceremony of Chuck Robertson. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the First Liberty Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  14. LEOPOLD et al v. OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE et al (filed Jul 28, 2017)
    Reporter Jason Leopold and Buzzfeed submitted three FOIA requests to the Department of Treasury for draft and final copies of Attorney General guidelines for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and guidelines for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but had not responded to any request when Leopold and Buzzfeed filed suit. Leopold and Buzzfeed submitted a request to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for records concerning Intelligence Community Inspector General investigations of FinCen. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and indicated it had started a search. Leopold and Buzzfeed also submitted a request to the Office of Special Counsel for records concerning whistleblower retaliation at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. OCS responded that it found no records, and affirmed that decision on appeal. Leopold and Buzzfeed filed suit against all three agencies.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  15. LEOPOLD et al v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jul 28, 2017)
    Reporter Jason Leopold and Buzzfeed submitted FOIA requests the FBI, EOUSA, and the Criminal Division at the Justice Department for records concerning investigations into the death of Mikhail Lesin, an advisor to Vladamir Putin. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further concerning the status of their request, Leopold and Buzzfeed filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

From → FOIA, PACER

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