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FOIA Activity: 99 new FOIA court documents

by Harry Hammitt on December 1st, 2017

We have added 99 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between November 12, 2017 and November 18, 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. The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) v. United States Department of Justice (filed Nov 13, 2017)
    The Center for Investigative Reporting submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for records concerning the agency’s policies and procedures involving trace reports and aggregated information obtained from trace reports. The Center also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. CIR contacted the agency several times to check on the status of its request. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, CIR filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Nov 13, 2017)
    Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for correspondence and attachments sent to or from Trigg Talley relating to the Paris climate agreement. CEI also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver, which the State Department denied. CEI submitted a second FOIA request for correspondence and attachments sent to or from Alex Costello concerning the Paris climate agreement. CEI also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver for that request as well. The State Department denied the request for expedited processing and a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, CEI filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Nov 13, 2017)
    The Protect Democracy Project submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and OMB for records concerning the government’s response to Hurricane Maria. Both FEMA and OMB acknowledged receipt of Protect Democracy Project’s request and indicated they would start processing the request. DHS did not acknowledge Protect Democracy Project’s request. After hearing nothing from the agencies, Protect Democracy Project filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  4. BAY JOURNAL MEDIA, INC. v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Nov 13, 2017)
    Bay Journal Media, publisher of the Bay Journal, which covers the Chesapeake Bay, submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning the Bay Journal and the agency’s program to increase public awareness of the condition of the Chesapeake Bay. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The Bay Journal contacted the agency concerning the status of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Bay Journal Media filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  5. NATIONAL IMMIGRATION PROJECT OF THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD et al v. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (filed Nov 13, 2017)
    The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Muente Support Committee, and Detention Watch submitted 20 FOIA requests to regional offices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning Operation Mega. The agency acknowledged receipt of 19 of the requests and told the organizations that the request was too broad. Based on information learned from ICE, the organizations clarified their requests to encompass another program called Operation Safety City. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the organizations filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  6. DEMOCRACY FORWARD FOUNDATION v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Nov 13, 2017)
    The Democracy Forward Foundation submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning the Trump administration’s decision to curtail the agency’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The agency then announced a $10 million teen pregnancy prevention research program and told DFF that it would respond to its request. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, DFF filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  7. Gonzalez v. U.S. Department of Agriculture (filed Nov 13, 2017)
    Joey Gonzalez, an employee of the Department of Agriculture, submitted a FOIA request to the agency for records concerning a climate assessment conducted at the agency’s Miami Station. The agency disclosed a redacted version of the climate assessment, citing Exemption 5 (privileges) and Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). Gonzalez filed an administrative appeal, but the agency’s decision was upheld on appeal. Gonzalez then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. CLEMENT v. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR (filed Nov 14, 2017)
    Joel Clement, a former DOI employee who was reassigned, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning its reassignment decisions. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. Clement submitted a second FOIA request to the agency for records regarding the political affiliation of a number of named individuals. The agency acknowledged receipt of the second request as well. Clement had contacts with the agency concerning its progress, but after hearing nothing further, Clement filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  9. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Nov 15, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning Nation of Islam Mosque #7 in Harlem. The agency told Judicial Watch that it found no records. Judicial Watch filed an administrative appeal to the Office of Information Policy, which upheld the FBI’s decision. Judicial Watch then filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. SAN MARTIN v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Nov 15, 2017)
    Antonio San Martin, an employee of FEMA, submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records about himself. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. San Martin contacted the agency concerning the status of his request and was told it was still pending. After hearing nothing further from the agency, San Martin filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  11. California Reinvestment Coalition et al v. United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (filed Nov 17, 2017)
    The California Reinvestment Coalition and Inner City Press submitted FOIA requests to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for records concerning certain financial institutions that went bankrupt. The agency told the requesters that the online request was not proper because it did not have an attachment. The agency agreed to accept the attachment by email. However, after the agency had received the perfected request, the requesters heard nothing further from the agency and filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Nov 17, 2017)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for communications between the agency and the Podesta Group. 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
  13. ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Nov 17, 2017)
    The Environmental Integrity Project submitted three FOIA requests to the EPA for records about various cleanup sites. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after the agency failed to respond further, the Environmental Integrity Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index

From → FOIA, PACER

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