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CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON v. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on October 5th, 2017

We have added 130 documents from 15 FOIA cases filed between September 24, 2017 and September 30, 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. CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON v. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed Sep 27, 2017)
    Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning Secretary Ryan Zinke’s attendance at a conference hosted by the American Petroleum Institute and held at Trump International Hotel. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, CREW filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. Ajamu v. Yates Willis et al (filed Sep 29, 2017)
    D. Urtyyah Willis, the brother of a disabled veteran, filed suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs after the agency failed to provide information about how much money his brother was entitled to for his disability. This is not a FOIA case.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  3. Troncoso v. Sheriff of Middlesex County et al (filed Sep 27, 2017)
    Manuel Troncoso, a state prisoner, sued the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts to force the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office to disclose information about nutrition dietary meals. This is not a FOIA case.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  4. Gerrodette v. Bureau of Land Management et al (filed Sep 25, 2017)
    Patricia Gerrodette submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning the Cochise Conservation and Recharge Network. After hearing nothing from the agency, Gerrodette filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Gerrodette filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. WATKINS LAW & ADVOCACY, PLLC v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS et al (filed Sep 25, 2017)
    Watkins Law & Advocacy, representing a group of veterans, submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Veterans Affairs for records concerning how a veteran was classified as mentally competent, and to the Department of Justice for records concerning the ability of veterans who were considered mentally incompetent to own guns. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after the agencies failed to respond, Watkins Law & Advocacy filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. Stegemann v. Berkshire County District Attorney's Office et al (filed Sep 25, 2017)
    Joshua Stegemann filed suit against the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office for records about his case. This is not a FOIA suit since Berkshire County is not a federal agency.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  7. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Energy (filed Sep 25, 2017)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Energy for records concerning the effect of President Trump’s executive order cutting back on regulations on standards for portable air conditioners and other cooling equipment. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the NRDC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. Carter v. Secretary for Department of Corrections (filed Sep 26, 2017)
    Vernon Carter, a state prisoner, filed suit against the Florida Department of Corrections for records concerning his conviction. This is not a FOIA case since the Florida Department of Corrections is not a federal agency.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  9. AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Sep 27, 2017)
    The American Center for Law and Justice submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning requests by former UN Ambassador Samantha Powers to unmask identifying surveillance information about Donald Trump when he was a candidate. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, ACLJ filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. KREMERS URBAN PHARMACEUTICALS INC. v. UNITED STATES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (filed Sep 27, 2017)
    Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals submitted a FOIA request to the FDA for records following up on events that had happened since Kremers’ November 2016 request. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. WESTERN VALUES PROJECT v. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed Sep 28, 2017)
    The Western Values Project submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning correspondence involving Mary Pletcher, Assistant Secretary for Human Capital and Diversity containing references to Executive Resources Board or ERB. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Western Values Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. et al v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (filed Sep 28, 2017)
    The Waterkeeper Alliance, the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, and the Environmental Integrity Project submitted FOIA requests to the EPA for records concerning the current status of the Effluent Limitation Guidelines rule. The agency asked the groups to clarify the request. The agency then started to process the request, but had only provided a single document when the groups filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. New York Times Company et al v. U.S. Department Of Justice et al (filed Sep 28, 2017)
    New York Times reporter Charlie Savage submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records containing various keywords pertaining to college affirmative action admission standards. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and put it in its complex queue for processing. Savage also submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Education for similar records. The agency asked Savage to narrow the scope of his request, which he did. However, after hearing nothing further from either agency, the New York Times filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  14. MIDDLE EAST FORUM v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY et al (filed Sep 29, 2017)
    The Middle East Forum submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning a possible criminal investigation of Islamic Relief USA. The Middle East Forum told the agency that it was not requesting tax return information. The IRS interpreted the request as one for tax return information and refused to process it. The Middle East Forum then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  15. NORTHWEST ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR (filed Sep 29, 2017)
    Northwest Environmental Advocates submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act as it applied to 19 specified revisions to California ‘s water standards submitted by the state for EPA approval under the Clean Water Act. The agency produced only three documents. NWEA filed an administrative appeal of the agency’s search and production of records. NWEA also submitted a second FOIA request asking for the number of appeals pending at the Office of Solicitor. After the agency failed to respond to either NWEA’s appeal or its second request, NWEA filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

From → FOIA, PACER

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