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Jun 19 17

FOIA Wait Times Up 31 Percent at Department of the Navy

by FOIA Project Staff

The latest request-by-request data from the Department of the Navy shows that as
of the end of December the average number of days unanswered FOIA requests
have been waiting has been climbing, along with the pending backlog. Over the
previous 12 months, FOIA pending cases have risen by 15 percent, while pending
wait times have grown by 31 percent.

As of the end of December, there were 3,341 FOIA requests pending at the
Department of the Navy. This is up from 3,070 three months earlier, and 2,899 at
the end of December 2015.

These unanswered FOIA requests had been waiting an average 432 calendar days
without any response, up from an average wait of 329 days 12 months earlier. See
Figure 1.

requests_changeFigure 1. Backlog of Unanswered Navy FOIA Requests
Jun 15 17

LONG et al v. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT and 8 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 49 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between June 4, 2017 and June 10, 2017. 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. LONG et al v. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (filed Jun 8, 2017)
    Susan Long and David Burnham, co-directors of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, submitted monthly FOIA requests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for anonymous case-by-case information about individuals deported by ICE as a result of its Secure Communities or successor programs read more…
Jun 15 17

FOIA Activity: 9 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 9 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 4, 2017 and June 10, 2017. These are associated with 9 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. DC 1:2011cv01295CANNING v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • June 5, 2017: MEMORANDUM OPINION to the Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Gladys Kessler on 6/5/17. (CL)
  2. read more…

Jun 8 17

CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY v. U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS et al and 7 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 56 documents from 8 FOIA cases filed between May 28, 2017 and June 3, 2017. 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. CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY v. U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS et al (filed May 31, 2017)
    The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for records concerning building barriers on the U.S.-Mexican border or U.S.-Canadian border prepared for the Trump administration transition team. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The Center for Biological Diversity also submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for same records read more…
Jun 8 17

FOIA Activity: 9 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 9 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between May 28, 2017 and June 3, 2017. These are associated with 9 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. ALN 2:2015cv00837White Arnold & Dowd P.C. v. Department of Justice
    • June 2, 2017: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge R David Proctor on 6/2/2017. (KAM, )
  2. read more…

Jun 2 17

CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR et al and 20 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 117 documents from 17 FOIA cases filed between May 21, 2017 and May 27, 2017. 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. CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR et al (filed May 23, 2017)
    The Center for Biological Diversity submitted FOIA requests to the Department of the Interior, the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of State for records concerning policies ordering the agencies to remove or keep information about climate change on their websites. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agencies, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit read more…
Jun 2 17

FOIA Activity: 8 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 8 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between May 21, 2017 and May 27, 2017. These are associated with 8 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CO 1:2016cv01090Whitson v. United States Forest Service
    • May 23, 2017: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part [27] Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Granting in part and denying in part [30] Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, by Judge Lewis T. Babcock on 5/23/2017. (ebuch)
  2. read more…

May 31 17

Media-Filed Suits Seek Records from the Trump Administration

by FOIA Project Staff

Numerous reporters and news organizations have already taken federal agencies to court seeking government records from the Trump administration. Details on all media-filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits filed through the initial four months of the Trump administration are now available in the second edition of The Media List.

Forty-five new FOIA lawsuits filed by 60 media plaintiffs have been added since the December 1, 2017 edition was posted.

The complete Media List compiles information on each news organization and reporter since 2000 who filed a FOIA federal lawsuit. The updated list, with filings through May 19, 2017, now covers 436 media plaintiffs and provides current details about each suit.

Who Were the Reporters and Media Organizations Who Brought New Suits?

During the last six months new lawsuits were filed by a total of 10 different news organizations and 29 individual reporters. Each of these recent FOIA filers is listed in Table 1.

Multiple suits were brought by three media organizations and five reporters during this most recent period. The most frequent filer was investigative journalist Jason Leopold. Leopold filed 7 new FOIA lawsuits during the past six months. In two of these he joined with his new employer, Buzzfeed, Inc. The second most active media filer was The New York Times. It filed 6 new FOIA lawsuits. The Washington correspondent for the Times, Charlie Savage, was also a named plaintiff for four of these suits.

Other media organizations that filed more than one case during this period were: Buzzfeed, Inc. that filed 3 suits and Pro Publica, Inc. that filed 2 suits.

Filing a single case were media organizations: Center for Public Integrity, National Public Radio, the Miami Herald, the Virginian-Pilot, Gizmodo Media Group operated by Univision Communications, Makuhari Media maker of documentary films, and ThinkGlobal, publisher of trade publications on international exports.

Besides Jason Leopold, two other reporters filed at least 3 separate cases during the past six months. These were the previously mentioned Times reporter Charlie Savage with 4 new suits, and Politico senior White House reporter Josh Gerstein with 3 new filings. Leopold, Savage and Gerstein have also been plaintiffs in earlier FOIA litigation during the Obama years.

The remaining two reporters with multiple suits were new entrants to the list of FOIA media filers. These two were chief investigative reporter Ken Vogel of Politico and The Daily Beast executive editor Noah Shachtman.

Table 1. Recent Media-Filed Federal Lawsuits*
Media Organizations Suits Filed
The New York Times Company 6
Buzzfeed, Inc. 3
Pro Publica, Inc. 2
Center for Public Integrity 1
Gizmodo Media Group, LLC 1
Makuhari Media LLC 1
Miami Herald Media Company 1
National Public Radio, Inc. 1
ThinkGlobal, Inc. 1
Virginian-Pilot Media Companies, LLC 1
Reporters Suits Filed
Jason Leopold 7
Charlie Savage 4
Josh Gerstein 3
Ken Vogel 2
Noah Shachtman 2
Adam Johnson 1
Brad Heath 1
Carol Rosenberg 1
Charles Seife 1
Cora Currier 1
David Burnham 1
David Talbot 1
Dylan Tokar 1
James Lantz 1
Jeffrey Stein 1
Jens Porup 1
Jeremy Merrill 1
Joshua Eaton 1
Laura Leigh 1
Leslie E. Packer 1
Louise Mensch 1
Matt Apuzzo 1
Matt Smith 1
Peter Aldhous 1
Robert Benincasa 1
Scott W. Johnson 1
Seth Freed Wessler 1
Shane Harris 1
Thomas K. Reilly 1
* Covering December 1, 2017 – May 19, 2017. See the entire Media List for earlier periods.


For details on each media-filed federal FOIA lawsuit since 2000, along with the identities of the reporters and news organizations filing these suits, see The Media List.

Please Help Us Improve This List

The FOIA Project launched The Media List initiative to document just how often the news media take federal agencies to court to enforce FOIA requirements. Starting with the case-by case records for virtually every FOIA suit now available on FOIAproject.org, the project team has examined and classified each of the over ten thousand individual names of plaintiffs in these suits to identify those that were media related.[1]

In some lawsuits, both a news organization and a reporter at that organization were named plaintiffs in the federal court action and both are included on the list. Other suits were brought individually by reporters.

The project is seeking the community’s assistance in expanding the information available through this list. Please let us know if you spot any errors or omissions. If you were the plaintiff or attorney in any of these cases, we would especially encourage you to contribute commentary about the case, or additional court documents recording details of the case. The “Case Detail” link on The Media List takes you to a page listing the material currently available about each suit, along with a link you can use to upload additional documents.

We are currently working on a similar list covering advocacy and nonprofit organizations. Please help support these new initiatives through your donation.

The TRAC Gift Fund has been set up through the Newhouse School at Syracuse University to support this effort.

[1] The list does not include everyone that may qualify for lowered processing fees with media status as defined under the FOIA statute. This list focuses only on organizations that hold themselves out as news media, and reporters for whom this is their profession.

May 25 17

FOIA Activity: 12 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 12 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between May 14, 2017 and May 20, 2017. These are associated with 12 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAE 1:2017cv00034Ford v. Ciraolo-Klepper et al
    • May 18, 2017: ORDER Granting [13] Motion to Dismiss Based on Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 05/18/2017. CASE CLOSED. (Flores, E)
  2. read more…

May 25 17

AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE et al and 22 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 168 documents from 21 FOIA cases filed between May 14, 2017 and May 20, 2017. 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. AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE et al (filed May 17, 2017)
    American Oversight submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, and the Small Business Administration for records concerning communications or meetings between agency personnel and Ivanka Trump. The agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests read more…