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SCHNEIDER v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al and 23 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on March 8th, 2018

We have added 153 documents from 17 FOIA cases filed between February 25, 2018 and March 3, 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. SCHNEIDER v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Feb 28, 2018)
    Brandon Schneider, a Catholic religious seminarian studying for the priesthood, had served a Summer Chaplain Internship at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. He was interviewed by the Office of Personnel Management for a background check at which he acknowledged certain allegations brought up by the OPM interviewer. As a result, Schneider considered himself ethically obligated to report those allegations to his seminary. He was then removed from the parish ministry and was not allowed to continue his pursuit of the priesthood. Schneider submitted a FOIA request to OPM for records concerning his interview. OPM denied his request under Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). The FBI also responded to Schneider pertaining to records referred to it by OPM, denying some records under Exemption 7(E). Schneider filed an administrative appeal of the denial by both agencies. The FBI’s denial was affirmed by OIP affirmed. Schneider submitted a separate FOIA request to the FBI for records pertaining to himself. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. After hearing nothing further from either agency, Schneider filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. (PS) Clavito v. U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (filed Feb 26, 2018)
    Jaime Clavito submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for records concerning his debt and collection schedule. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Clavito filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  3. PUBLIC CITIZEN, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR et al (filed Feb 26, 2018)
    Public Citizen submitted two FOIA requests to the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs for records concerning FOIA requests for EEO-1 reports obtained by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The agency provided a chart of the requests received and provided some records. However, for some reports, the agency withheld information under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Public Citizen filed administrative appeals of the denials of both requests. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Public Citizen filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. PROJECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Feb 26, 2018)
    The Protect Democracy Project submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning contacts with White House staff pertaining to changes in agency policies. PDP also submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for communications between the Executive Office of the President and the agency pertaining to Hillary Clinton. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests. Several components told PDP that they would not have records. PDP filed an administrative appeal of those responses. After hearing nothing further from the agencies, PDP filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  5. ROGERS v. EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS (filed Feb 26, 2018)
    Jon Rogers submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records concerning two investigations involving Rogers conducted by the IRS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. The agency told Rogers that he had waived his FOIA rights as part of his settlement agreement. Rogers filed an administrative appeal, arguing that the terms of the settlement agreement had been waived. The Office of Information Policy remanded his case back to EOUSA for response. Rogers contacted the agency several times to check on the status of his request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Rogers filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  6. CAMPAIGN FOR ACCOUNTABILITY v. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES et al (filed Feb 27, 2018)
    The Campaign for Accountability submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development for records concerning communications with organizations promoting conservative values on reproductive rights and/or the Trump administration’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy ending funding to the UN Population Fund. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agencies, Campaign for Accountability filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. CAMPAIGN FOR ACCOUNTABILITY v. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Feb 27, 2018)
    The Campaign for Accountability submitted two FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning the relationship of the agency or various officials with organizations promoting conservative values on reproductive rights. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Campaign for Accountability filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. CAMPAIGN FOR ACCOUNTABILITY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Feb 27, 2018)
    The Campaign for Accountability submitted two FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning contacts with organizations promoting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Campaign for Accountability filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (filed Feb 27, 2018)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for records concerning projected expenditures for redecorating the offices of Senate-approved agency officials. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, 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, Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. Boykin v. S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control et al (filed Feb 27, 2018)
    Chelsea Boykin requested records from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The agency did not provide the records and Boykin filed suit. She may have a claim under the South Carolina public records act, but this is not a FOIA claim since FOIA does not apply to state agencies.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  11. DEMOCRACY FORWARD FOUNDATION v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al (filed Feb 28, 2018)
    The Democracy Forward Foundation submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning the extension of the EB-5 visa program, which provides a pathway to citizenship for wealthy foreign nationals who invest in U.S. development projects. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from either agency, the Democracy Forward Foundation filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  12. E. Randol Schoenberg v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (filed Mar 1, 2018)
    Randol Schoenberg submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the search warrant application used by the FBI to search Huma Abedin’s laptop for emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton. Schoenberg originally filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where the court ordered the search warrant disclosed. Schoenberg continued with the administrative process and the FBI redacted personal information in the remaining records. Schoenberg then filed an administrative appeal, which was upheld by the Office of Information Policy. Schoenberg then filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 7(C) – Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT et al (filed Mar 1, 2018)
    People for the American Way submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice. PAW submitted a FOIA request to HUD for records concerning the removal of references to transgendered individuals in its materials about housing policies meant to provide equal access to homeless shelters. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told PAW that it would take 45 days or more to process. PAW also submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning its removal of references to LGBTQ youth from its materials pertaining to sex trafficking of minors. DOJ acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from either agency, PAW filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  14. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Mar 1, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning contacts between former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele or any other individual at Fusion GPS. 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
  15. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Mar 1, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning communications between the Attorney General’s Office and Fusion GPS or contractor Nellie Ohr. 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
  16. OWEN v. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (filed Mar 1, 2018)
    Kevin Owen submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for records concerning memoranda pertaining to the delegation of authority by the Secretary. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Owen filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  17. Kriemelmeyer, Frederick v. Arde, Allen et al (filed Mar 2, 2018)
    Frederick Kriemelmeyer submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning the denial of his passport application. The agency did not respond and Kriemelmeyer filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit

In addition, we have added 32 documents from 7 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  1. ARRICK v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (filed Feb 23, 2018)
  2. Withrow v. USA (filed Feb 22, 2018)
  3. PINSON v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Feb 21, 2018)
  4. PHILLIPS v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Feb 20, 2018)
  5. McGinnis v. Atlanta VBA Regional Office (filed Feb 20, 2018)
  6. Peterson v. Scoggins (filed Feb 20, 2018)
  7. Estevez v. United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California et al (filed Dec 28, 2015)

From → FOIA, PACER

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