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ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE v. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET and 31 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on April 19th, 2018

We have added 161 documents from 29 FOIA cases filed between April 8, 2018 and April 14, 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. ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE v. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (filed Apr 13, 2018)
    The Arab American Institute submitted a FOIA request to OMB for records concerning the Interagency Working Group for Research on Race and Ethnicity that discuss a separate classification for Middle East or African ethnicity for purposes of the 2020 Census. The Arab American Institute also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, the Arab American Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. White v. Executive Office of US Attorneys et al (filed Apr 9, 2018)
    William White, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and the FBI for records about himself. After the agency failed to respond, White filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  3. Carroll v. U.S. Department of Interior (filed Apr 11, 2018)
    Robert Carroll, a Department of the Interior employee at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in New Orleans, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning the report of the investigation conducted by BSEE employee Linda Schubert into the hiring practices of BSEE. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The agency issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records based on Exemption 7 (law enforcement records). Carroll filed an administrative appeal of the Glomar response. His appeal was denied. Carroll then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  4. Cunningham v. U.S. DOJ (OIG) Agency et al (filed Apr 10, 2018)
    Benjamin Cunningham submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning his mistreatment by the U.S. Marshals Service. After the agency failed to respond, Cunningham filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  5. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (filed Apr 9, 2018)
    American Oversight submitted three FOIA requests to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for records concerning communications between agency staff and commentator Armstrong Williams and associates, and communications between agency staff and Sinclair Broadcast Group. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and told American Oversight that it would be unable to respond within 20 days. 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
  6. NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Apr 9, 2018)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning communications between the agency and Michael Dourson, the former nominee to head the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, regarding methylene chloride, N-methylpyrrolidone, and/or trichloroeythlene. NRDC also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told NRDC that no fees would be incurred in responding to its request. 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, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  7. ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT et al v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Apr 9, 2018)
    Environmental Integrity Project, Clean Water Action, Environment America, and Northwest Environmental Advocates submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning several dozen roundtable discussions held by Administrator Scott Pruitt pertaining to changes in the Waters of the United States rule. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. EIP made several inquires concerning the status of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, EIP and the other organizations filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (filed Apr 9, 2018)
    The Electronic Privacy Information Center submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning the use of mobile forensic devices and technologies. EPIC also requested expedited processing, inclusion in the news media fee category and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, granted EPIC’s request for a fee waiver, but denied its request for expedited processing. EPIC filed an administrative appeal of the agency’s denial of expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EPIC filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Apr 9, 2018)
    The American Center for Law and Justice submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning the Carter Center’s alleged support of Hamas and the PLO. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, ACLJ filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. Abbetech Professional Resources, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State The Executive Office, Office of the Legal Adviser (filed Apr 9, 2018)
    Abbtech Professional Resources submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning the investigation of an improper sub-source award contract. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Abbtech Professional Resources filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. Stanco et al v. Internal Revenue Service (filed Apr 10, 2018)
    Paul Stanco, Jose and Maria Linares, and Henry and Bozena Strodka submitted FOIA requests to the IRS for records concerning the agency’s determination that they had not filed the required tax returns. In responding to one of the requests, the IRS located 2,474 pages of responsive records and disclosed 1,627 pages, redacting 91 pages in full and withholding 795 pages in full. In response to other requests, the agency located 846 pages, disclosing 727 pages while withholding 119 pages in full and 31 pages in part. The agency located and disclosed other responsive records related to other requests. As to a later batch of requests, the IRS indicated that it would be unable to respond within the statutory time limit. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Stanco, the Linares’, and the Stodkas filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed Apr 10, 2018)
    The Center for Biological Diversity submitted five FOIA requests to the Department of the Interior for records concerning the Cadiz Valley Water Project, communications of Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, and communications of Deputy Secretary Todd Willens along with his appointment calendar. After hearing nothing further from the agency pertaining to any of its requests, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR (filed Apr 10, 2018)
    Professional Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning the U.S. Geological Survey study of energy assessment for the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. The agency acknowledged 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
  14. DEMOCRACY FORWARD FOUNDATION v. U.S. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (filed Apr 10, 2018)
    Democracy Forward Foundation submitted a FOIA request to OMB for records concerning communications between the agency and Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner and other White House staffers working with them pertaining to the Trump administration’s decision to stay collection of EEO-1 pay data. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but 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
  15. CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER v. U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (filed Apr 10, 2018)
    The Campaign Legal Center submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning GEO Correction Holding’s relationship with a specific ICE detention facility. CLC also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, CLC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  16. Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP v. United States Food and Drug Administration (filed Apr 10, 2018)
    The law firm of Faruqi & Faruqi submitted a FOIA request to the FDA for records concerning the National Advertising Division’s case, Allergan v. Synergy Pharmaceuticals. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  17. FREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Apr 11, 2018)
    Freedom Watch submitted three FOIA requests to the Department of Justice for records concerning the Cliven Bundy prosecution, the Andrew McCabe investigation, and the recommendation for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Fusion GSP. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Freedom Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  18. Zamor et al v. Apple Inc. (filed Apr 11, 2018)
    Marie Zamor, Vladimir Janvier, and the Estate of Natacha Zamor sued Apple, Inc. to force Apple to unlock Natacha Zamor’s iPhone to be used in an investigation of her death. This is not a FOIA case.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  19. The Steele Law Firm, LLC v. United States Department of Health and Human Services et al (filed Apr 11, 2018)
    The Steele Law Firm submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Health and Human Services for certified copies of records concerning the staffing data for skilled nursing home facilities for 2014-2016. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided certified records for 2016, but told Steele that the 2014-2015 records were available on its website. Steele filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  20. Arledge v. Internal Revenue Service et al (filed Apr 11, 2018)
    Richard Arledge submitted FOIA requests to the IRS and the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records concerning a subpoena to Wachovia Bank in a case involving Cecil Coleman, who was now deceased. Both agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests. The IRS told Arledge he would need to provide third-party authorization. Arledge told the IRS that Coleman was deceased, but he heard nothing further from either agency. Arledge then filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  21. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Apr 12, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning the attendance of then Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak at the Republican National Convention. 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
  22. FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM ("FAIR") v. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (filed Apr 12, 2018)
    The Federation for American Immigration Reform submitted a FOIA request to the Social Security Administration for records concerning the agency’s decision to stop its policy of sending decentralized correspondence and educational correspondence notices to employers from 2011 through August 2012. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, FAIR filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  23. Informed Consent Action Network v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (filed Apr 12, 2018)
    Informed Consent Action Network submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning reports transmitted to the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee as required under 42 U.S.C. Section 300aa-27(c). The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Informed Consent Action Network filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  24. Robinson v. Department of Veterans Affairs (filed Apr 12, 2018)
    Ronald Robinson submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Veterans Affairs for records concerning a variety of topics. He appealed the agency’s apparent denial of some requests, but eventually filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  25. Pruco Securities LLC v. US Department of Justice (filed Apr 13, 2018)
    Pruco Securities submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning the criminal case, USA v. Anderson, including FBI Form 302 reports. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request but told Pruco Securities that it had no records responsive to its request. Pruco Securities filed an administrative appeal of the decision, which was upheld by the Office of Information Policy. Pruco Securities then filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  26. NATIONAL IRANIAN AMERICAN COUNCIL v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Apr 13, 2018)
    The National Iranian-American Council submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning OMB Emergency Approval of visas and other aspects of policy affected by the Trump administration. The Council also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Council filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  27. FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM v. U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (filed Apr 13, 2018)
    The Federation for American Immigration Reform submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning the number and country of citizenship for H-2A and H-2B visa holders who overstayed their period of admission for FY13-FY17. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, FAIR filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  28. FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM ("FAIR") v. U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (filed Apr 13, 2018)
    The Federation for American Immigration Reform submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for records concerning the top 20 H-1B employers submitting visa petitions as well as the top 100 non-profit organizations submitting H-1B cap exempt visa petitions. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, FAIR filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  29. CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Apr 13, 2018)
    The Center for Public Integrity submitted a number of FOIA requests to the EPA for records concerning a variety of topics. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency pertaining to any of the requests, the Center for Public Integrity filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 8 documents from 3 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  1. FRANCIS et al v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Apr 6, 2018)
    Brad and Christine Francis requested records from the IRS concerning transcripts pertaining to their taxes for specific tax periods. Although they did not make a FOIA request, they brought suit under the Administrative Procedure Act and FOIA.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, FOIA mentioned only tangentially
  2. SMITH v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al (filed Apr 5, 2018)
    Grant Smith, founder of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Energy for a two-page document entitled “Guidance on Release of Information Relating to the Potential for an Israeli Nuclear Capability.” DOE released a nearly completely redacted version of the document, citing Exemption 1 (national security) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Smith filed an administrative appeal, but the agency’s denial decision was upheld. Smith’s complaint is against both Energy and the Department of State, but his attachments have no correspondence with State. Smith ultimately filed suit against both the Energy Department and the State Department.
    Issues: Exemption 1 – Harm to national security
  3. Nikaj et al v. United States Department of State (filed Apr 4, 2018)

From → FOIA, PACER

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