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FOIA Project Announces New Brief Bank Initiative and Releases Detailed Court Documents for 15 FOIA Cases

by Austin Kocher on September 2nd, 2020

The FOIA Project is announcing a new brief bank initiative to collect documents for federal FOIA cases to make available to the FOIA community. Below are the first 15 FOIA cases with a rich trove of supplemental material.

What is the Brief Bank Initiative? 

Although the FOIA Project keeps diligent track of federal FOIA-related lawsuits by downloading docket sheets, complaints, and opinions from PACER and annotating and classifying each case on legal issues and other characteristics, the project does not download briefs due to the prohibitively high cost of doing so at $0.10 per page. Yet briefs are of inestimable value to FOIA requesters and litigators both in terms of preparing FOIA requests and lawsuits, but also enabling more systematic research on the veracity and consistency of government claims across various court cases. Therefore, we are now seeking organizations, FOIA requesters, and attorneys to contribute their briefs (including government supporting declarations) so that these can be added to our collection.

How does the Brief Bank Initiative Work?

Because TRAC has considerable experience with large-scale data management, we developed document and data management programs specific to the FOIA Project that not only allow us to upload user-contributed documents to the website, but also enables us to link each brief to its proper court case. This means that when users search FOIAProject.org, they will not only receive links to documents and opinions that we download automatically, but users also receive links to any contributed briefs and declarations, as well. Existing search tools automatically include in the response to queries links to not only documents and opinions, but also to any contributed briefs and declarations.

How can you get involved?

To contribute, send documents to Dr. Austin Kocher, TRAC Faculty Fellow, at ackocher@syr.edu.

List of Cases with Court Documents

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