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ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT v. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on January 18th, 2018

We have added 76 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between January 7, 2018 and January 13, 2018. 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. ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT v. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (filed Jan 8, 2018)
    The Environmental Integrity Project submitted a FOIA request to the General Services Administration for records concerning credit card charges submitted for travel by EPA and Department of Interior from April 2017 through September 2017. The agency denied the request, telling EIP that it was not allowed to disclose credit card charge information pertaining to other agencies. EIP filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, EIP filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  2. Brown v. Department of Justice (filed Jan 9, 2018)
    Lewis Brown was arrested and convicted of possession of drugs in Maryland. He later asked the court to expunge his conviction, which it did. However, he then found out that his fingerprints and conviction information were in a federal crime database. He filed suit against the Department of Justice to force the agency to expunge the records. This is not a FOIA claim.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  3. ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Jan 8, 2018)
    The Electronic Privacy Information Center submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning communications between the now terminated Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity and DHS concerning the transfer of personal data. EPIC requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency told EPIC its request was too broad. In response, EPIC narrowed the scope of its request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EPIC filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further, EPIC filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  4. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (filed Jan 9, 2018)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to OMB for records concerning its handling of public responses pertaining to ideas for deregulation. 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
  5. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jan 9, 2018)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning its decision to end agency support for employee fitness programs. 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
  6. ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE v. NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION et al (filed Jan 9, 2018)
    The Animal Welfare Institute submitted a FOIA request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for records concerning the determination that the necropsy and clinical history requirements for a whale that died at Sea World had been waived. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Animal Welfare Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Sanctions – Referral to Special Counsel
  7. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency (filed Jan 9, 2018)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning administrator Scott Pruitt’s “State Action Tour.” NRDC also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted NRDC’s request for a fee waiver. However, 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
  8. WILDEARTH GUARDIANS v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE (filed Jan 10, 2018)
    WildEarth Guardians submitted a FOIA request to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for records concerning its decision finding that there was no significant environmental impact for conducting predator damage assessments in Colorado. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, WildEarth Guardians filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. DAVIS v. UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al (filed Jan 10, 2018)
    Donovan Davis, a federal prisoner, submitted FOIA requests to the FBI, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and the Secret Service for records concerning himself. The FBI found records and withheld some records. Davis filed an administrative appeal. EOUSA told Davis it found no records. Davis filed an administrative appeal of that decision. The Secret Service found a hard drive that was responsive to Davis’s request, but after examining it, the agency found the hard drive had been wiped and there were no more records. Davis then filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  10. Shehan v. Department of the Treasury (filed Jan 10, 2018)
    William Shehan submitted FOIA requests to the IRS for records concerning a possible referral of his tax case for criminal prosecution. The agency located records, but withheld eight records under Exemption 7(D) (confidential sources). The agency also disclosed 282 pages from its file on Davis’s investigation. The agency withheld 12 pages under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). After hearing nothing further from the agency, Shehan filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  11. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR (filed Jan 11, 2018)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning a demonstration ranch or other change to the Channel Islands National Park. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and took a 10-day extension. After hearing nothing further from the agency, PEER filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. CLARK v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jan 12, 2018)
    George Clark, a research librarian at Harvard University, submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for emails between EPA Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson and 20 named individuals. Clark requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of his request and denied his requests for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency asked Clark to narrow the scope of his request. Clark declined to do so. The agency denied Clark’s request because it failed to sufficiently describe the records sought. Clark filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Clark filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  13. Guzzi v. U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services et al (filed Jan 12, 2018)
    Rosario Guzzi submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for records concerning a statutory requirement for entities to report to the agency any individuals they know are in the U.S. illegally. The agency told Guzzi that his request failed to describe the records he was seeking sufficiently to conduct a search and closed his case. Guzzi filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Guzzi filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index

In addition, we have added 2 documents from 2 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

From → FOIA, PACER

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