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CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET et al and 19 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt on July 5th, 2018

We have added 127 documents from 19 FOIA cases filed between June 24, 2018 and June 30, 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. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET et al (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    Cause of Action Institute submitted FOIA requests to OMB and the Department of Agriculture for records concerning the Internet browsing histories of OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. COA also requested a fee waiver and inclusion in the news media fee category. OMB acknowledged receipt of the request. USDA told COA that it did not maintain records of employees’ Internet browsing history. COA filed an administrative appeal of that decision, which was upheld on appeal. Having heard nothing further from OMB, COA filed suit against both agencies.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Agency Record, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (filed Jun 25, 2018)
    Patrick Michels, a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, submitted two FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Children and Families for records concerning policies pertaining to housing unaccompanied minors. Michels asked for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Michels and CIR filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. FOOD & WATER WATCH INC. v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jun 25, 2018)
    Food & Water Watch submitted a FOIA request for records concerning contracts or agreements between the agency and Allan Blutstein, who operated America Rising, a conservative campaign-research group, and Definers Public Affairs, a group affiliated with America Rising which had recently been awarded a $120,000 no-bid contract for monitoring media coverage of the agency. The contract was subsequently cancelled after being revealed in the media. Food & Water Watch also requested a fee waiver, which was granted. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Food & Water Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. BUZZFEED INC. v. U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT et al (filed Jun 25, 2018)
    Buzzfeed submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning notices sent to ICE field office directors of instances in which a detainee has been held continuously in segregation and all subsequent reviews by the field office director. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. Buzzfeed was told in February 2018 that the estimated completion date for its request was December 20, 2017. Buzzfeed filed an administrative appeal. The agency remanded the request for further processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Buzzfeed filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Jun 25, 2018)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for records concerning communications between former CIA Director John Brennan and former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) pertaining to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. 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. Sierra Club et al v. United States Department of the Interior et al (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    The Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth submitted FOIA requests to the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning the processing of FOIA requests. Neither agency initially acknowledged receipt of the requests, but both agencies did acknowledge receipt of the requests after the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth contacted them to check on their status. However, after hearing nothing further from either agency, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. EQUITY FORWARD v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    Equity Forward submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Services for travel and appointment records for several HHS officials, particularly at the Administration for Children and Families. The agency acknowledged receipt of Equity Forward’s requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Equity Forward filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  8. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    The James Madison Project and reporters Noah Shachtman and Sam Stein of the Daily Beast submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning legal or policy determinations for creating tent cities to house detained unaccompanied minors. Shachtman and Stein also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and told Shactman and Stein that it was being referred to the Administration for Children and Families for processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, JMP, Shachtman, and Stein filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  9. BUZZFEED INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    Buzzfeed, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Ombudsman Julie Kirchner’s work activities. The agency rejected Buzzfeed’s request as too broad. Buzzfeed filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Buzzfeed filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. STOTTER & ASSOCIATES LLC v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    The law firm of Stotter & Associates submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning contracts awarded to Advance Technologies Group. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. Stotter & Associates narrowed its request to three specific contracts. The agency told the law firm that processing the contracts could take up to 12 months. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Stotter & Associates filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  11. Edwards v. United States Department of Justice (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    William Edwards submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning a potential briefing of electors after the 2016 election. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Edwards filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. Makarova Cross et al v. US Treasury Department et al (filed Jun 26, 2018)
    Nellie Makaraova Cross and Sergey Korol Korlev submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning audits conducted between 2007 through 2015. The agency acknowledged request of the request. The agency denied the request under Exemption 3 (other statutes), Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding), and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Cross and Korlev filed an administrative appeal. The agency upheld its original decision. Cross and Korlev then filed suit.
    Issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  13. AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL v. U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT et al (filed Jun 27, 2018)
    The American Immigration Council submitted FOIA requests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning the processing and treatment of non-citizens arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, AIC filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  14. BUZZFEED INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (filed Jun 27, 2018)
    Buzzfeed, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Education for records concerning letters sent to six specific schools regarding Title IX investigations at their schools. Buzzfeed also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and granted Buzzfeed’s request for a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Buzzfeed filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  15. DeFRAIA v. DEFENSE HEALTH AGENCY (filed Jun 27, 2018)
    Daniel DeFraia submitted a FOIA request to the Defense Health Agency for records concerning the data and methodology used in a study conducted by the Defense Center of Excellence regarding Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, and Comprehensive Airman Fitness. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. After a number of attempts to check the status of his request were unsuccessful, DeFraia filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  16. MUSLIM ADVOCATES et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al (filed Jun 28, 2018)
    Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning the waiver provisions of the Trump administration’s enhanced vetting policies. Muslim Advocates and CCR also requested a fee waiver and expedited processing. DHS granted the organizations’ expedited processing and fee waiver requests. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied the organizations’ request for expedited processing, but granted their request for a fee waiver. U.S. Customs and Border Protection denied the organizations’ requests for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The Department of State did not acknowledge the organizations’ request. After hearing nothing further from either agency, Muslim Advocates and CCR filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  17. LEOPOLD et al v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Jun 28, 2018)
    Reporter Jason Leopold and Buzzfeed, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning emails and work activities for Brian Hook and Margaret Peterlin. Leopold also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied Leopold’s request for expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Leopold and Buzzfeed filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  18. BUZZFEED INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 29, 2018)
    Buzzfeed, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons for records concerning the agency’s efforts to select and obtain lethal injection chemicals. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. It denied the request under a variety of exemptions. Buzzfeed filed an administrative appeal. The agency denied Buzzfeed’s appeal on the basis of Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). Buzzfeed then filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  19. WILD HORSE FREEDOM FEDERATION v. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Jun 29, 2018)
    The Wild Horse Freedom Federation submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning bait trapping, water trapping, or bait/water trapping of wild horses and burros. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The Federation contacted the agency several times inquiring about the status of its request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Federation filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, 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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