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U.S. RIGHT TO KNOW et al v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY and 17 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on June 1st, 2018

We have added 108 documents from 17 FOIA cases filed between May 20, 2018 and May 26, 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. U.S. RIGHT TO KNOW et al v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed May 21, 2018)
    U.S. Right to Know and Carey Gilliam submitted two FOIA requests to the EPA. The first FOIA request asked for records concerning plans to test for residue of glyphosate in foods from January 2014 through July 2016. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told U.S. Right to Know that it was processing the request. U.S. Right to Know and Gilliam submitted a second FOIA request for records concerning communications between representatives of CropLife America, a trade association of pesticide and herbicide manufacturers and distributors and 12 specified employees of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. U.S. Right to Know also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told U.S. Right to Know that it would not incur charges for the request. After hearing nothing further from the agency pertaining to either request, U.S. Right to Know and Gilliam filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. EDDINGTON v. U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION et al (filed May 21, 2018)
    Patrick Eddington, an analyst at the Cato Institute, submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning confrontations with persons at internal CBP immigration checkpoints where the confrontation lasted more than 15 minutes or CBP agents forcibly removed an individual from a vehicle. One year later, the agency told Eddington that it found no records responsive to the first part of his request and that the second part of his request was too broad to search. Eddington filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Eddington filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed May 21, 2018)
    The law firm of Husch Blackwell submitted a FOIA request to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for emails sent over a specific period containing specific keywords. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Husch Blackwell filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed May 21, 2018)
    The Campaign Legal Center submitted a FOIA request to the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice for records concerning a request from Arthur Gray, the General Counsel of DOJ’s Justice Management Division to the Census Bureau to add a citizenship question on the 2020 Census Questionnaire. CLC requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The agency denied the request, claiming all responsive records were protected by Exemption 5 (privileges). CLC filed an administrative appeal and later requested expedited processing of the appeal. After hearing nothing further from the agency, CLC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  5. NATIONAL STUDENT LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (filed May 22, 2018)
    The National Student Legal Defense Network and the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law School submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Education for records submitted as part of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools Part II Submission to be a federally recognized accreditor of institutions of higher education. The agency acknowledged receipt of the organizations’ requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the organizations filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  6. PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed May 22, 2018)
    Property of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted FOIA requests to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Their requests to the FBI asked for records on filmmaker Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn, and for records concerning state and federal anti-whistleblower laws applicable to the agriculture industry. For all three requests, the FBI said it found no records. Property of the People filed administrative appeals of all three decisions with the Office of Information Policy. OIP upheld the FBI’s responses. Property of the People submitted a FOIA request to DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis for records concerning filmmakers, documentaries, and organizations promoting veganism and animal welfare. Property of the People requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told Property of the People that it was invoking a 10-day extension. Property of the People also submitted a FOIA request to DHS regarding the anti-whistleblower laws pertaining to the agriculture industry. The agency told Property of the People that it had found no records. Property of the People filed an administrative appeal of that decision. Property of the People submitted a FOIA request to ONDI for records concerning filmmakers, documentaries, and organizations promoting veganism and animal welfare. Property of the People also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. After hearing nothing further from any of the agencies concerning its requests, Property of the People filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (filed May 23, 2018)
    The ACLU of Northern California submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning contracts between ICE and contractors related to Automated License Plate Reader technology. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The ACLU of Northern California submitted a second FOIA request to ICE for records related to ALPR technology contracts. The agency acknowledged that request as well, but after hearing nothing about either request, the ACLU of Northern California filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. NATIONAL STUDENT LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (filed May 23, 2018)
    The National Student Legal Defense Network submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Education for records concerning alternative earnings appeals. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and the agency sent an interim response. But after hearing nothing further from the agency, NSLDN filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  9. HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed May 23, 2018)
    The law firm of Husch Blackwell submitted 27 FOIA requests to the EPA for records concerning emails sent during a specified time that included certain keywords. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests. The agency consolidated the 27 requests for search purposes and told Husch Blackwell that its search located 4,100 potentially responsive records. But after hearing nothing further from the agency, Husch Blackwell filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service et al (filed May 23, 2018)
    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals submitted FOIA requests to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for records concerning photographs and inspectors notes in connection with the investigation of dog breeders. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests. In its final response, the agency withheld records on the basis of Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), and Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). The ASPCA filed administrative appeals of the agency’s decisions but after hearing nothing more from the agency, the ASPCA filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. Stone v. United States Department of Defense (filed May 23, 2018)
    Rick Stone, a retired police officer, submitted FOIA request to the Department of Defense for records on a variety of individuals who served in the military. After the agency failed to respond, Stone filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  12. Friends of Animals v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (filed May 24, 2018)
    Friends of Animals submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for records concerning applications that had been submitted and granted in 2017-2018 for permits to bring U.S. trophy hunted lion parts from Zimbawe and Zambia. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told Friends of Animals that its request was being place in the complex track for processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Friends of Animals filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed May 24, 2018)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Interior for records concerning the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Plan” as it related to Florida. American Oversight submitted a second FOIA request for the same kinds of records as they related to all other coastal states that had gubernatorial elections in 2018. American Oversight also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests but denied American Oversight’s request for expedited processing. 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
  14. CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, INC. v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed May 24, 2018)
    The Center for Biological Diversity submitted FOIA requests to the EPA for records concerning a range of issues pertaining to Administrator Scott Pruitt. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency in response 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
  15. Zaorski v. The Government of the United States of America (filed May 24, 2018)
    Lan Lin Zaorski filed suit against the Government of the United States over sovereignty issues concerning Taiwan. This is not a FOIA claim.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  16. Bronson et al v. United States Customs and Border Protection (filed May 25, 2018)
    Jennifer Bronson, Clement Chin, and Kevin Shimamoto, managing members of North America 3PL and Berkeley Healthcare Dynamic, submitted FOIA requests to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records of communications referencing the two companies. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Bronson, Chin, and Shimamoto filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  17. Patino v. Director,Office of Management and Budget (filed May 25, 2018)
    Antonio Patino submitted a FOIA request to OMB for records concerning a Form 83-1 request for OMB review. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Patino filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 1 document from 1 case, with an earlier filing date, that has recently appeared on PACER.

From → FOIA, PACER

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