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PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY et al and 24 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on February 2nd, 2018

We have added 159 documents from 25 FOIA cases filed between January 21, 2018 and January 27, 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. PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY et al (filed Jan 23, 2018)
    Property of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Navy for records concerning releases of prescription drugs to the Medical Office of the White House from the Navy since January 2017. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but immediately closed it because the agency claimed they were not agency records. The Navy also indicated that if such records existed, they might be held by the Defense Health Agency. Property of the People and Shapiro filed an administrative appeal of the Navy’s decision. Property of the People and Shapiro also submitted a FOIA request to the Defense Health Agency for the same records. That 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
  2. LAWYERS' COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jan 26, 2018)
    The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The Lawyers Committee also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The Justice Department provided an index of Commission records provided in a court case against the Commission. DOJ denied the Lawyers Committee’s request for expedited processing but had not yet addressed its request for a fee waiver. The Lawyers Committee asked for the same kinds of records from DHS. DHS closed its request because it failed to sufficiently identify the records requested. The Lawyers Committee then filed suit against both agencies.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  3. SUGGS v. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION et al (filed Jan 25, 2018)
    Calvin Suggs filed suit against the Social Security Administration and the IRS to force them to provide records about himself. While Suggs mentions the Privacy Act, he does seem to have made any kind of FOIA request.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  4. AISHAT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Jan 22, 2018)
    Ayman Aishat submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning his application to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, any evidence of his membership in the Holy Land Foundation, and records about him provided by other agencies. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services responded by providing 38 blank pages, indicating it had referred 31 pages to other agencies, and withheld seven pages under various exemptions. Aishat filed an administrative appeal. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement responded to the portion of his appeal concerning the records referred by USCIS. ICE told Aishat that it was withholding 16 pages under various exemptions and that an additional 16 pages had been referred to DIA, although it was unclear whether or not that stood for Defense Intelligence Agency. Aishat filed an administrative appeal of the ICE decision. ICE remanded his case for further processing, but after hearing nothing further, he filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. Cochran v. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (filed Jan 22, 2018)
    Terry Cochran, a federal employee, submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records concerning a report of investigation. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Cochran filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  6. Cochran v. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (filed Jan 22, 2018)
    Terry Cochran, a federal employee, submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records concerning his security clearance. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Cochran filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  7. Cochran v. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (filed Jan 22, 2018)
    Terry Cochran, a federal employee, submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his family and medical leave records. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Cochran filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  8. Kriemelmeyer, Frederick v. Krebs, Kevin et al (filed Jan 22, 2018)
    Frederick Kriemeimeyer submitted FOIA requests to the National Security Division of the Department of Justice and the IRS for records concerning foreign agents’ registration and oath of office. The agencies failed to respond and Kriemeimeyer filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  9. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Jan 23, 2018)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning agreements, certifications, oaths, commitments or other pledges required to be signed by political appointees or career staff prior to or in connection with their employment at HHS. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, HHS filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. Ocean Conservancy v. National Marine Fisheries Service et al (filed Jan 23, 2018)
    The Ocean Conservancy submitted a FOIA request to the National Marine Fisheries Service for records concerning a temporary rule reopening the Gulf of Mexico private angler and red snapper fishing season and extending the length of the season. The Ocean Conservancy also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted the Ocean Conservancy’s request for a fee waiver, although it subsequently questioned whether the Ocean Conservancy had a commercial interest in its request. The agency provided an interim disclosure of 38 documents, but after hearing nothing further from the agency as to when it would release more responsive records, the Ocean Conservancy filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. United States Department of Commerce (filed Jan 23, 2018)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for records concerning why the Secretary of Commerce found that summer flounder management plan measures the State of New Jersey had failed to implement were unnecessary for conserving summer flounder. The agency provided two interim responses but indicated that there were several other responsive records. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the NRDC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  12. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jan 24, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning electronic communications between FBI agent Peter Strozk and FBI attorney Lisa Page, as well as travel vouchers and expense reports for both Strozk and Page. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told Judicial Watch that unusual circumstances applied in the processing of its request. 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. REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS v. UNITED STATES CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION et al (filed Jan 24, 2018)
    The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning the agency’s demand that Twitter release information identifying the persons using the Twitter account @ALT_uscis. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Reporters Committee filed an administrative appeal. The agency told the Reporters Committee that since no adverse action had been taken, its appeal was being closed. The agency subsequently told the Reporters Committee that it had located responsive records. But after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Reporters Committee filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  14. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. U.S. Department of the Interior et al (filed Jan 24, 2018)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted FOIA requests to the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce for records concerning public comments and communications with outside parties pertaining to their review of national monuments. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after nothing further from either agency, NRDC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  15. Highland Capital Management LP v. Internal Revenue Service (filed Jan 24, 2018)
    Highland Capital Management submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning the agency’s administrative audit of Highland Capital Management. The agency located 13,409 responsive pages. The agency told Highland Capital Management that it was withholding 1,632 pages entirely and 132 pages in part. Highland Capital Management then filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Highland Capital Management filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  16. Sui v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services et al (filed Jan 24, 2018)
    Jian Sui, a lawful permanent resident, submitted FOIA requests to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the FBI for records concerning allegations that he was involved in an alien smuggling scheme before being admitted to the United States. The agencies acknowledged receipt of requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agencies, Sui filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  17. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Jan 25, 2018)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning the Strategic National Risk Assessment. 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
  18. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (filed Jan 25, 2018)
    American Oversight submitted four FOIA requests to the General Services Administration for records concerning a contract awarded to My Pillow, whose CEO had been a major contributor to the Trump campaign, for pillows throughout the federal government. American Oversight also requested any contacts with GSA on behalf of My Pillow from either outside parties or the White House. 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
  19. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Jan 25, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted multiple FOIA requests to the U.S. Secret Service for records concerning costs for travel by President Trump. 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
  20. National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Jan 25, 2018)
    The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State for records concerning the government’s decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status to Haitian refugees. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, The National Immigration Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  21. John W. Sigler v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (filed Jan 26, 2018)
    John Sigler submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning two specific HIPAA violation complaints submitted to the Office of Civil Rights. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but provided records concerning one of the complaints, but not the other. Sigler filed an administrative appeal. The agency acknowledged receipt of the appeal. The agency eventually told Sigler that records pertaining to the second complaint had been lost. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Sigler filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  22. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jan 26, 2018)
    American Oversight submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice for records concerning communications from Chief of Staff Jody Hunt or Counselor to the Attorney General Rachael Tucker expressing views on the outcome of any National Security Division investigation. The agency denied the request citing Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). American Oversight filed administrative appeals, but 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
  23. STORY OF STUFF PROJECT et al v. UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE et al (filed Jan 26, 2018)
    The Story of Stuff Project and the Courage Campaign Institute submitted FOIA requests to the U.S. Forest Service for records concerning Nestle Waters North America’s special permit to sell water in national parks. After the agency failed to respond to any of its requests, the Story of Stuff Project filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  24. The New York Times Company et al v. Department of Defense (filed Jan 26, 2018)
    New York Times reporter Charlie Savage submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Defense for records concerning President Trump’s revised principles and standards for counter-terrorism kill-or-capture operations replacing President Obama’s policy. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Savage filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further, the New York Times filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  25. Diehl v. FBI (filed Jan 26, 2018)
    David Diehl, a federal prisoner, submitted two FOIA requests to the FBI for records concerning hard drives that were used in his prosecutions. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied them both. Diehl filed administrative appeals of the denials. The agency denied his appeals and Diehl filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search

From → FOIA, PACER

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