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PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

by Harry Hammitt on September 7th, 2017

We have added 62 documents from 14 FOIA cases filed between August 27, 2017 and September 2, 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. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Aug 31, 2017)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s announcement that he would create a task force to recommend changes in the administration of the Superfund program. PEER also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted PEER a fee waiver. The agency published the recommendations of the Superfund task force, but that report only responded to a portion of PEER’s request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, PEER filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. PEJOUHESH v. UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE (filed Aug 31, 2017)
    Hassan Ali Pejouhesh, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Postal Service for records concerning an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that resulted in Pejouhesh’s conviction. The agency disclosed 23 pages with redactions made under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). The agency also told Pejouhesh that it had destroyed some records responsive to his request. Pejouhesh ultimately filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search
  3. PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS (filed Aug 28, 2017)
    Property of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted a FOIA request to the Broadcasting Board of Governors for records concerning broadcasts of certain Farsi News and related records. Property of the People and Shapiro also asked to be included in the news media fee category. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied Property of the People’s request for news media status. Property of the People filed an administrative appeal of the denial, which was upheld by the agency. After hearing nothing further from the agency concerning the processing of their request, Property of the People and Shapiro then filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. UNITED STATES ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION (filed Aug 28, 2017)
    Property of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Federal Assistance Commission for correspondence between the Commission and Vice President Pence, chair of the Advisory Committee on Election Integrity, or Kris Kobach, co-chair of the Advisory Committee. The request further asked for any correspondence mentioning the Advisory Committee. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, 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
  5. COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Aug 30, 2017)
    The Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Civil Right Division at the Department of Justice concerning its investigation of the University of California-Berkeley. The agency responded to CEI by denying the records under Exemption 5 (privileges), Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding), and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). CEI filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy. OIP upheld the denial of records under Exemption 7(A) only. CEI then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS v. U.S. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Aug 30, 2017)
    WildEarth Guardians submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning a 2016 Board of Land Appeals ruling in favor of WildEarth Guardians on the issue of whether BLM Field Managers had the delegated authority to approve coal leases. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told WildEarth Guardians that it was processing the request on the voluminous track. WildEarth Guardians filed an administrative appeal challenging the delay in processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, WildEarth Guardians filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. Reilly v. Justice (filed Aug 31, 2017)
    Thomas Reilly, a filmmaker, submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records concerning an investigation of corruption in Bridgeport, CT. Reilly also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and took a 10-day extension. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Reilly filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE (filed Aug 31, 2017)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for records concerning the translocation of the Louisiana black bears to the Three Rivers Complex area in Louisiana. 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
  9. WESTERN VALUES PROJECT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed Aug 31, 2017)
    Western Values Project submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning communications between Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and a number of Republican Senators pertaining to potential development of the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve and other natural reserves. Western Values Project also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Western Values Project filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  10. Exxon Mobil Corporation v. Internal Revenue Service (filed Aug 31, 2017)
    Exxon Mobil submitted several FOIA requests to the IRS for records concerning the agency’s administrative audit of the company’s taxes from 2006 �” 2011. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Exxon Mobil filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. FIGLEY v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Sep 1, 2017)
    Paul Figley, a law professor at American University, submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning the “Stop Settlements Slush Fund Act of 2016″ (H.R. 732). The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told Figley that it found no responsive records. Figley filed an administrative appeal of the no records response. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Figley filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. DANIK v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Sep 1, 2017)
    Jeffrey Danik, a retired FBI agent, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The FBI acknowledged receipt of Danik’s request and divided his request into separate requests. In response to one of the separate requests, the FBI told Danik that he had not reasonably described the records sought. He filed an administrative appeal of that decision with the Office of Information Policy. OIP remanded the request back to the FBI for a further search. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Danik filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  13. SMITH v. MNUCHIN et al (filed Sep 1, 2017)
    Grant Smith, a researcher and founder of the Institute for Research Policy: Middle Eastern Policy, submitted a FOIA request in 2012 to the Department of Treasury for records concerning the names, job titles, and phone numbers of Treasury employees. The agency responded by directing Smith to its website. Smith filed an administrative appeal, arguing that the information on the agency’s website was not complete. The agency denied his appeal. Smith also submitted a FOIA request to OPM in 2012 for names and titles of employees at Treasury’s Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Unit. OPM referred the request to Treasury. Treasury responded in 2014, but redacted the names of all but seven employees in the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Unit. Smith filed an administrative appeal of Treasury’s decision, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Smith finally filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  14. JARVIS v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING & URBAN DEVELOPMENT (filed Sep 1, 2017)

In addition, we have added 9 documents from 5 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  1. Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach et al v. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement et al (filed Aug 25, 2017)
  2. Gonzalez-Gallegos v. Department of Justice et al (filed Aug 24, 2017)
    Eduardo Gonzalez-Gallegos, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning any reports prepared by Special Agent Alan Vitkoski with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego in 2006. The agency told Gonzalez-Gallegos that there were 17,500 responsive records and the cost would be $520 for two CDs. Gonzalez-Gallegos complained that he had requested very specific records. The agency then provided five pages with redactions. Gonzalez-Gallegos filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy, which upheld the FBI’s decision. Gonzalez-Gallegos then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  3. WILLIS v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Aug 22, 2017)
  4. ELLIOTT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (filed Aug 21, 2017)
  5. Hawkins v. Hawley et al (filed Aug 21, 2017)
    Broderick Hawkins, a state prisoner, requested records from the state attorney’s office. When his request was denied, Hawkins filed suit against Josh Hawley, an attorney in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. This is not a FOIA request since Hawley does not work for a federal agency.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned

From → FOIA, PACER

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