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PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION et al and 17 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on December 14th, 2017

We have added 114 documents from 18 FOIA cases filed between December 3, 2017 and December 9, 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. PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION et al (filed Dec 5, 2017)
    Property of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted FOIA requests to the General Services Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of State, and Department of Defense for records reflecting charges made on government credit cards for expenses at Trump-owned properties. All of the agencies acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from any of the agencies, Property of the People and Shapiro filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Fee Category – Media or Educational, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  2. ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Dec 4, 2017)
    Environmental Integrity Project submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning public speeches and speeches given to third parties by Administrator Scott Pruitt. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Environmental Integrity Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  3. PUBLIC CITIZEN, INC. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (filed Dec 4, 2017)
    Public Citizen submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for records concerning travel and security costs for Secretary Ben Carson, and travel and security costs for former Secretary Shaun Donavan during his first year as Secretary. Public Citizen also requested a fee waiver. The agency denied Public Citizen’s request for a fee waiver. Public Citizen filed an administrative appeal and the agency upheld its denial of a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Public Citizen filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  4. GIFFORDS LAW CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Dec 4, 2017)
    The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning contacts with the National Rifle Association after the Las Vegas mass shooting, as well as White House talking points, particularly as they related to a public statement by the NRA. The Giffords Center also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told the Giffords Center that it was being placed in the complex track for processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Giffords Center filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  5. LIPTON et al v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Dec 4, 2017)
    New York Times reporter Eric Lipton submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for an electronic copy of Administrator Scott Pruitt’s daily calendar regularly updated. Lipton also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency granted Lipton’s request for expedited processing and indicated that there would be no fees associated with processing the request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Lipton filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency (filed Dec 4, 2017)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning its red team, blue team exercise, and the development of a new protocol requiring political appointees to review grant solicitations. NRDC also requested a fee waiver. The EPA acknowledged receipt of the request and told the NRDC that no fees would be incurred in responding. After hearing nothing further from the agency, NRDC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed Dec 5, 2017)
    WildEarth Guardians submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning Secretarial Order 3355 titled “Streamlining National Environmental Policy Act Reviews.” based on President Trump’s executive order instructing agencies to look at ways to encourage deregulation. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told WildEarth Guardians that it would need to consult with other offices to process the request. After hearing nothing further from the agency as to when it would finish processing the request, WildEarth Guardians filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. NATIONAL IMMIGRATION PROJECT OF THE NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD v. U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT et al (filed Dec 5, 2017)
    The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning the agency’s use of mobile biometric devices. The National Immigration Project also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted the NIP’s request for a fee waiver. The NIP submitted a second FOIA request to the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning any civil liberties investigations conducted as the result of the use of mobile biometric devices. CRCL did not acknowledge receipt of the request. After hearing nothing further concerning either of its requests, the National Immigration Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Dec 5, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning actual or planned expenses for renovating or redecorating offices and waiting rooms of officials subject to Senate confirmation. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. American Oversight sent a follow-up letter requesting a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, American Oversight filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. Gold Cross EMS, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (filed Dec 5, 2017)
    Gold Cross EMS submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs concerning its Special Needs Transportation contract. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Gold Cross EMS filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. Adelante Alabama Worker Center et al v. Department Of Homeland Security et al (filed Dec 6, 2017)
    Adelante Alabama Workers Center, Detention Watch Network, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Immigrant Defense Project, and Southerners on New Ground submitted FOIA requests to the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the Department of Homeland Security for a memorandum containing super-recommendations that were discussed in a 2015 report pertaining to a detention center in Alabama. The agency told the requesters it had located five responsive pages but was withholding them entirely under Exemption 5 (privileges). The requesters filed an administrative appeal and the denial was remanded for further explanation of the basis of the privilege claims. After hearing nothing further pertaining to the remand, the requesters contacted the appeals authority, which told them that they should consider the inaction a final decision. The requesters then filed suit.
    Issues: attorney’s fees
  12. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry et al (filed Dec 6, 2017)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for records concerning the agency’s review of the health effects of glyphosate. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told NRDC that it would be difficult to estimate the volume of responsive records. NRDC requested a fee waiver, which the agency granted. 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
  13. Western Watersheds Project v. United States Department of Interior (filed Dec 7, 2017)
    Western Watersheds Project submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning the Twin C grazing allotment on the Stafford Field Office of the Gila District of Arizona. The agency provided 1,119 pages with redactions and withheld an additional 1,919 pages under Exemption 5 (privileges). Western Watersheds Project filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Western Watersheds Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  14. Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges v. United States Department of State (filed Dec 7, 2017)
    Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning legal citations for unclassified international agreements, other than treaties, submitted to Congress. The Center also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the Center’s request and denied its requests for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The Center filed an administrative appeal of the fee waiver denial. On appeal, the agency granted the Center’s request for a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Center filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  15. DEMOCRACY FORWARD FOUNDATION v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (filed Dec 7, 2017)
    Democracy Forward Project submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Education for records concerning the Borrower Defense Regulations that were postponed due to litigation filed by the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Democracy Forward Project filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  16. ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Dec 7, 2017)
    The Environmental Integrity Project submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning the decision to designate a certain rulemaking action “inactive.” The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention told EIP that it had been unable to locate records responsive to its request, but indicated that other components of the agency were still searching for records. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EIP filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  17. Price v. The National Security Agency (filed Dec 7, 2017)
    James Price, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the National Security Agency for records concerning the Vulnerabilities Equity Process. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Price filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  18. ALMEDA v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION et al (filed Dec 8, 2017)
    Celestino Alameda, who fought as a guerilla in the Philippines during World War II, submitted two FOIA requests to the Department of Education for records concerning himself, and benefits for Filipino vets from the Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Alameda submitted another FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for similar information. After hearing nothing further from either agency, Alameda filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

From → FOIA, PACER

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