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Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. v. United States Department of Education et al

by Harry Hammitt on August 31st, 2017

We have added 83 documents from 11 FOIA cases filed between August 20, 2017 and August 26, 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. Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. v. United States Department of Education et al (filed Aug 22, 2017)
    The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Education and the Department of Justice for records concerning the rescission of two guidance documents pertaining to schools’ Title IX obligations with respect to transgender students. The Department of Education acknowledged receipt of the request and told Lambda that it would take more time to respond. After four inquiries concerning the status of its request, Education had still not responded to Lambda. The Civil Rights Division at Justice told Lambda that it had located 109 pages, but was withholding them under Exemption 5 (privileges). Lambda filed an administrative appeal of the Civil Rights Division’s decision. After hearing nothing further from DOJ, Lambda filed suit against both the Education Department and the Justice Department.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  2. REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al (filed Aug 21, 2017)
    The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the FBI’s practice of impersonating members of the media, specifically documentary filmmakers. The FBI divided the request in to four separate requests. For one request, it issued a Glomar response, neither confirming nor denying the existence of records, based on Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). In response to the second request, the agency told the Reporters Committee it had not sufficiently described the records sought to allow the agency to conduct a search. As to the third request, the agency told the Reporters Committee that responsive records were being withheld under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). As to the fourth request, the agency indicated that it fell within the exception for unusual circumstances and would take longer to process as a result. The Reporters Committee filed an administrative appeal address all the requests. The Office of Information Policy acknowledged receipt of the appeal, but told the Reporters Committee it would not consider the delay appeal because no adverse determination had been made. After hearing nothing further from OIP, the Reporters Committee filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Fee Category – Media or Educational, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  3. Brennan Center for Justice et al v. U.S. Department of Justice et al (filed Aug 21, 2017)
    The Brennan Center for Justice submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and OMB for records concerning the creation of the Commission on Election Integrity. The Brennan Center also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. DOJ granted its request for expedited processing, but told the Brennan Center that it would not yet consider the fee waiver. DHS granted the Brennan Center both expedited processing and a fee waiver. OMB acknowledged receipt of the request. After hearing nothing further from any of the agencies, the Brennan Center filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  4. The New York Times Company et al v. Central Intelligence Agency (filed Aug 22, 2017)
    New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for records concerning President Trump’s July 24 claim that the Washington Post had fabricated the facts concerning ending payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the New York Times and Rosenberg filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. FIGUEROA v. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE et al (filed Aug 23, 2017)
    Antonio Figueroa, who had been terminated from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, submitted a FOIA request to the National Guard Bureau for records about himself. The NGB told Figueroa that his request would not be processed for a year. Figueroa filed an administrative appeal and the NGB denied his appeal. Figueroa also submitted a FOIA request to the Air Force Office of Inspector General pertaining to his removal from the Air National Guard. The agency referred his request to another office, but did not respond further. Figueroa also submitted a FOIA request to the Board of Correction of Military Records for records concerning his claim before the Board. The agency promised to process his request, but did not respond further. Figueroa then filed suit against the Air Force and the Department of Defense.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. TAKALA v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION (filed Aug 23, 2017)
    Rudy Takala, an associate editor at The Hill, submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Election Commission for records concerning FEC travel expenses. Takala requested inclusion in the news media fee category and asked for a fee waiver as well. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and took a 10-day extension. The agency emailed Takala and asked for a second extension, and suggested that he narrow the scope of his request. Takala did not narrow the scope of his request. The agency provided one interim response, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Takala filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. DILLON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Aug 23, 2017)
    Kenneth Dillon, a historian, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning its investigation of letters containing anthrax. Dillon requested an “Interim Major Case Summary” written in 2006 by Richard Lambert. The agency told Dillon that the report was already available in its online reading room. Dillon filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy, arguing that the report was not available online. OIP remanded the request back to the FBI for a further search. Dillon narrowed his request to records concerning the FBI’s investigation of Bruce Irvins. He also submitted a second request for emails concerning Irvins. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Dillon filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. United States Department of the Interior (filed Aug 23, 2017)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning Secretary Ryan Zinke’s travel to Interior-administered lands. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and took a 10-day extension. After hearing nothing further from the agency, NRDC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  9. Southern Environmental Law Center v. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (filed Aug 23, 2017)
    The Southern Environmental Law Center submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning the agency’s implementation of an executive order entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” SELC discussed the request with the EPA several times, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, SELC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Aug 24, 2017)
    Property of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted FOIA requests to the FBI for records concerning Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. Property of the People and Shapiro also requested inclusion in the news media/educational institution fee category. The FBI denied their request for inclusion in the news media/educational institution category. Property of the People and Shapiro filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy. OIP acknowledged receipt of the appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Property of the People and Shapiro filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Aug 25, 2017)
    The Energy & Environmental Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning contracts involving Hal Harvey, Energy Innovation, Trevor House or Rhodium Group that were in effect during 2015. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, EELI 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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