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Chapman v. Office of Management and Budget and 15 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on June 28th, 2018

We have added 118 documents from 16 FOIA cases filed between June 17, 2018 and June 23, 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. Chapman v. Office of Management and Budget (filed Jun 20, 2018)
    Matthew Chapman submitted a FOIA request to OMB for records concerning metadata contained in emails sent to extensions ending in “omb.eop.gov” during January 2017. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but rejected it as being too broad. Chapman then narrowed his request to a seven-day time frame. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Chapman filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  2. WHITTAKER v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 18, 2018)
    Noel Whitaker submitted a FOIA request to the Office of Personnel Management for records concerning his background investigation. The agency disclosed a two-page document with a redaction requested by the FBI. Whitaker filed an administrative appeal of that decision with the Office of Information Policy at the Department of Justice. OIP upheld the FBI’s redaction. Whitaker than filed suit against OPM and DOJ.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. STATE DEPARTMENT (filed Jun 18, 2018)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning the agency’s decision to remove 17 biosphere reserves from the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. 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
  4. CITIZENS UNITED v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 19, 2018)
    Citizens United submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for text messages sent between Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Peter Kadzik and FBI agent Peter Strzok. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but 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
  5. GRAVES GARRETT, LLC et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Jun 19, 2018)
    John Benton Hurst, an attorney at the law firm of Graves Garrett submitted 32 FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Services, 24 of which were sent to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, for records concerning the Ramazzini Institute. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests. NIEHS told Hurst that the requests fell within the unusual circumstances exception. Portions of the requests to HHS were referred to the Centers for Disease Control for response. CDC withheld 143 pages under Exemption 5 (privileges). Garrett Graves filed an administrative appeal of the CDC decision, but after hearing nothing further from NIEHS or HHS pertaining to any of its 32 requests, Graves Garrett filed suit
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  6. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 19, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning former FBI Director James Comey’s draft statement closing its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server. The FBI acknowledged receipt of the request and divided it into two separate requests. 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
  7. REINHARD v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Jun 19, 2018)
    Joshua Reinhard submitted two FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security. His first FOIA request asked for records concerning his involuntary separation from the Coast Guard. The agency did not respond to his request. His second FOIA request asked for the command climate survey conducted for the Coast Guard District in New Orleans. The agency told Reinhard that there were 1,000 pages responsive to his request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Reinhard filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  8. National Immigrant Justice Center v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Jun 19, 2018)
    The National Immigrant Justice Center submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning contracts with the agency to run detention centers. NIJC also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told NIJC that it was taking a 10-day extension. The agency also told NIJC that it placed the NIJC in the a non-commercial requester category for fee purposes. After hearing nothing further from the agency, NIJC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. National Immigrant Justice Center v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Jun 19, 2018)
    The National Immigrant Justice Center submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning enforcement and removal inspections for facilities housing more than 50 non-citizens in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. NIJC indicated that its request was to be considered ongoing. NIJC also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and invoked a 10-day extension. The agency also told NIJC that it was placed in non-commercial requester category for purposes of fees. After hearing nothing further from the agency, NIJC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. Salguero Paiz v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (filed Jun 20, 2018)
    Mario Rene Salguero-Paiz, a Guatemalan citizen seeking asylum to the U.S., submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for records concerning his alleged connection to earlier fighting in Guatemala. The agency identified 1,278 pages and released 973 pages in their entirety and 85 pages in part. However, the agency response did not include a specific referenced document. Salguero-Paiz filed an administrative appeal. The agency disclosed an additional 16 pages in full and eight pages in part. Salguero-Paiz also submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for 181 pages referred to ICE by USCIS. ICE disclosed some of the records but withheld most of them under various exemptions. Salguero-Paiz also filed a second FOIA request with USCIS., which the agency said duplicated his first request. After hearing nothing from the agency. Salguero-Paiz filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  11. GOOD FOOD INSTITUTE v. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (filed Jun 20, 2018)
    The Good Food Institute submitted a FOIA request to the FDA for records concerning an interagency working group focused on clean meat. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Good Food Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. NATIONAL STUDENT LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (filed Jun 21, 2018)
    The National Student Legal Defense Network submitted two FOIA requests to the Department of Education for records concerning the federal preemption of state regulations on student loan servicers. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, 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
  13. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 21, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted three FOIA requests to the Department of Justice. The first FOIA request was submitted to the Office of the Attorney General and asked for records concerning communications between Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller pertaining to the raid on Michael Cohen’s office and hotel room. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The second FOIA request was submitted to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and asked for records concerning the search warrant for the raid on Cohen’s office and hotel room. Judicial Watch submitted a third request to EOUSA for records concerning communications between Rosenstein and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York pertaining to the Cohen raid. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, 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
  14. Colton v. Dubois Wyoming et al (filed Jun 21, 2018)
    Craig Cotton filed suit against the Town of Dubois, Wyoming to force the town to approve his application to build an airpark there. Although Cotton cites FOIA at the end of his complaint, this is not a FOIA suit.
    Issues: FOIA mentioned only tangentially
  15. Chetal v. U.S. Department of Interior et al (filed Jun 22, 2018)
    Shyam Chetal submitted FOIA requests to the Department of the Interior for records about the Ten Sleep Mine in Big Horn County, Wyoming. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Chetal filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  16. INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE et al (filed Jun 22, 2018)
    The Institute for Justice submitted two FOIA requests to the IRS for records concerning civil asset forfeiture policies. The Institute of Justice also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and provided an interim response containing seven documents. The IRS later disclosed another 174 documents, most of which were heavily redacted under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). The Institute for Justice submitted the same request to the Department of Justice. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from either agency, Institute for Justice filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver

From → FOIA, PACER

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