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CITIZENS UNITED v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE and 17 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on June 22nd, 2018

We have added 108 documents from 16 FOIA cases filed between May 27, 2018 and June 2, 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. CITIZENS UNITED v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed May 30, 2018)
    Citizens United submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State for records concerning contracts awarded to Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS, Sidney Blumenthal, and others. Citizens United also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but told Citizens United that it was closing the request for failure to sufficiently describe the records with a contract number. Since the State Department did not inform Citizens United of its right to appeal, it did not appeal the closing of the request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Citizens United filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  2. Center for Biological Diversity v. Environmental Protection Agency (filed Jun 1, 2018)
    The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning EPA employee Mandy Grunasekara’s work and travel activities. The Center for Biological Diversity also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted the Center’s request for a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  3. KAPENDE et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed May 29, 2018)
    Kaps Kapende, Annie Kaseka, and Catholic Charities submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning assessment reports. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Kapende, Kaseka, and Catholic Charities filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed May 29, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning the number of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia who had returned to their home country after efforts to resettle them in the United States. 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
  5. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed May 29, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning sites considered for resettlement of refugees in 2015 and 2016. 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
  6. HUMANA GOVERNMENT BUSINESS, INC. v. DEFENSE HEALTH AGENCY (filed May 29, 2018)
    Humana Government Business, Inc. filed a reverse-FOIA suit against the Defense Health Agency after the agency decided to disclose allegedly proprietary information from its contract with the agency.
    Issues: Litigation – Reverse-FOIA – Confidential business information
  7. WOODWARD v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed May 29, 2018)
    Mario Woodward submitted FOIA requests to the U.S. Marshals Service and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice for records concerning the use of Stingray devices during an investigation that led to his conviction. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but told Woodward it did not have the specific records he was seeking. Woodward filed administrative appeals of the decisions. The Civil Rights decision was upheld by the Office of Information Policy, but the Marshals Service failed to respond. Woodward then filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (filed May 31, 2018)
    American Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Transportation for records concerning communications between Secretary Elaine Chao’s office and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, American Oversight filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed May 31, 2018)
    The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press submitted FOIA requests to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning the agency’s demands that Twitter reveal the identity of an individual using the @ALT_uscis account. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing from the agency concerning its request, the Reporters Committee filed a second FOIA request for records concerning the processing of the first FOIA request. The agency acknowledged receipt of the second request as well, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Reporters Committee filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. Berk v. Executive Office of United States Attorneys (filed May 28, 2018)
    Michael Berk, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records concerning his conviction. The agency responded to some portions of his request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Berk filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. Berk v. Department of Homeland Security (filed May 29, 2018)
    Michael Berk, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Secret Service for records concerning his conviction. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Berk filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. Berk v. US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons (filed May 29, 2018)
    Michael Berk, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons for records concerning his incarceration. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Berk filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed May 30, 2018)
    The Electronic Information Privacy Center submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning its preparation of a Privacy Impact Assessment for media monitoring services. EPIC also requested a fee waiver and expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted EPIC’s request for a fee waiver and expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EPIC filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  14. Southern Environmental Law Center v. Mulvaney (filed May 30, 2018)
    The Southern Environmental Law Center submitted a FOIA request to OMB for records concerning the implementation of a Trump administration Executive Order on management of federal lands. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, SELC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  15. ALFORD v. O'ROURKE (filed Jun 1, 2018)
    Leroy Alford submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for records concerning his appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Alford filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  16. Neal v. NAACP (filed Jun 1, 2018)
    Joseph Neal submitted a request for information to the NAACP. When the NAACP failed to respond, Neal filed suit. This is not a FOIA claim.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned

In addition, we have added 5 documents from 2 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

From → FOIA, PACER

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