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FOIA Activity: 5 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

We have added 5 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between April 13, 2014 and April 19, 2014. These are associated with 5 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 2:2013cv02204Laborers International Union of North America Pacific Soutohwest Region v. U.S. Department of Energy
    • April 17, 2014: STIPULATION and ORDER signed by Chief Judge Morrison C. England, Jr on 4/16/14: Defendant’s answer to the complaint shall be filed by April 15, 2014. Defendant’s motion for summary judgment shall be filed by April 30, 2014. The parties 9; Joint Status Report shall be filed by May 1, 2014. Plaintiff’s opposition to defendant’s motion for summary judgment shall be filed by May 21, 2014. Defendant’s reply shall be filed by June 18, 2014. Hearing before Judge England shall be held June 26, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. (Kaminski, H)
  2. CO 1:2011cv02544Evans v. Central Intelligence Agency
    • April 14, 2014: ORDER Setting Scheduling/Planning Conference for 5/7/2014 10:00 AM in Courtroom C204, before Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix, by Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix on 4/14/14. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment 1, # 2 Attachment 2, # 3 Attachment 3, # 4 Attachment 4) (dkals, )
  3. CO 1:2012cv02344Roe v. Internal Revenue Service
    • April 16, 2014: ORDER denying [73] Motion to Alter Judgment; denying [74] Motion for Costs. By Judge Christine M. Arguello on 04/16/2014.(athom, )
  4. DC 1:2013cv01115CUNNINGHAM v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • April 16, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on April 16, 2014. (lcrmc3)
  5. FLM 5:2013cv00420Freedom Watch, Inc. v. Department of the Navy et al
    • April 16, 2014: ORDER. Defendants’ motion (Doc. 21) is GRANTED, and Defendants may have until 5/16/14 within which to file their Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Magistrate Judge Philip R. Lammens on 4/16/2014. (JWM) Modified on 4/17/2014 (LAB).

90 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

We have added 87 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between April 13, 2014 and April 19, 2014. 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. SOTO, et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Apr 13, 2014)
    Mauricio Rojas Soto made a FOIA request to the State Department for all records relied upon by the agency in denying his family a visa. The agency released three documents in full and 14 in part. It withheld 110 documents under Exemption 3 (other statutes), citing Section 222(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Soto appealed and the agency told him that since it had missed the 20-day time limit for responding, he could file suit. Soto then filed suit.
    Issues: immediate disclosure of records, attorney’s fees
  2. v. Soto et al (filed Apr 13, 2014)
    This docket number appears to have been issued inadvertently. There are no documents attached and the docket appears to relate directly to 1:2014cv00604, Soto v. Dept of State.
    Issues: N/A
  3. REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Apr 15, 2014)
    The Republican National Committee submitted a FOIA request to the Internal Revenue Service for any records containing the words “tea party,” “patriot,” “9/12 project,” or similar words pertaining to the development of criteria for identifying 501(c)(40 tax-exempt organizations. The IRS acknowledged receipt of the receipt and took a 10-day extension of the statutory response time. After waiting more than 200 days for the agency to respond, the Republican National Committee filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting agency from withholding requested records, attorney’s fees
  4. TEA PARTY PATRIOTS, INC. v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE et al (filed Apr 15, 2014)
    The Tea Party Patriots submitted a request to the Internal Revenue Service for records concerning a notice of proposed rulemaking on Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Organizations on Candidate-Related Political Activities. Tea Party Patriots made a similar request to the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department acknowledged receipt of the request, but Tea Party Patriots heard nothing further concerning the FOIA request sent to Treasury. The IRS acknowledged receipt of the request, took a 10-day extension of time, and asked for a further extension of nearly two months. Although the Tea Party Patriots did not agree to the two month extension, after another two months had gone by, the Tea Party Patriots, believing the agency was no closer to producing records, filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, conduct adequate search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  5. Torres Consulting and Law Group LLC v. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (filed Apr 16, 2014)
    Torres Consulting and Law Group submitted a FOIA request to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for certified payroll information for RTD Construction and its subcontractors for plumbers and pipe-fitters. NASA responded that it had no payroll records pertaining to RTD Construction for those job classifications. Torres appealed the agency’s decision, but the decision was upheld on appeal. Torres then submitted another FOIA request for records related to the Revitalize KSC Water and Wastewater Systems Phase 4 as described in a NASA contract concerning work done by plumbers and pipe-fitters. This time, NASA located responsive records, but withheld them entirely on the basis of Exemption 4 (confidential business information) and Exemption 6 (!
    invasion of privacy). Torres appealed the decision administratively and the agency upheld its decision. Torres then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, segregability, preliminary injunction requiring disclosure before end of construction project, attorney’s fees
  6. Snyder v. Department of Defense et al (filed Apr 16, 2014)
    Richard Snyder, formerly president of TPS, Inc., had been receiving Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) files through file transfer protocol (FTP) from the Defense Logistics Agency since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled in his favor in TPS, Inc. v. Dept of Defense. He was informed by the agency that FTP transfers were currently not successful because he probably did not have enough computer storage space. Snyder told the agency he did have sufficient computer storage space and suggested the problem was a change in a Defense Department protocol. A conference call was scheduled to resolve the problem, but, according to Snyder, no one with technical expertise participated on the call. He asked the agency to check with technical support staff at the Defense Information Syst!
    ems Agency. A week later, DLA told Snyder that DISA said the connection was fine, but when Snyder asked if DLA had followed up with trying to fix the problem, he was told that it had not. He then received a letter from DLA saying it would no longer provide the CAGE information because it was publicly available under the affirmative disclosure provisions of FOIA. Snyder filed an appeal, arguing that the agency was required to provide information in the requester’s format of choice. The agency denied his appeal and Snyder then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, preliminary injunction requiring agency to comply with FOIA, punitive damages of $20, 000, costs
  7. PRP TRADING CORPORATION v U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (filed Apr 16, 2014)
    PRP Trading, a Puerto Rican corporation, submitted a FOIA request to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records pertaining to a specific case number. ICE acknowledged receipt of the request. PRP expanded its request to a total of 17 case files. ICE denied PRP’s request entirely under Exemption 7(A) (ongoing investigation or proceeding). PRP appealed, claiming the information had been publicly disclosed during court proceedings in Puerto Rico. ICE rejected PRP’s claim, finding instead that the records were still involved in an ongoing investigation. PRP then filed suit.
    Issues: immediate disclosure, attorney’s fees
  8. CB&I FEDERAL SERVICES LLC v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Apr 16, 2014)
    Shaw Environmental submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records concerning a contract between FEMA and Shaw Environmental. Shaw attempted unsuccessfully on several occasions to get a status update on its request. Shaw was finally told that the contract would be sent to Shaw for pre-disclosure notification, even though Shaw was requesting its own proprietary information. Shaw received 333 pages and marked portions that it did not want disclosed publicly. However, after still being unable to get an estimate of when its request would be completed, Shaw filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, enjoin agency from charging search fees, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  9. BEVERIDGE & DIAMOND, P.C. v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Apr 16, 2014)
    The law firm of Beveridge & Diamond made a FOIA request to the EPA for records related to follow-up work and updates on exposure to Libby amphibole asbestos and related health outcomes. The agency responded, but withheld some information under Exemption 4 (confidential business information) and Exemption 5 (privileges). Beveridge & Diamond appealed the agency’s decision. The agency upheld its use of Exemption 5, but did not address Exemption 4. Beveridge & Diamond then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records within 10 days of court order, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  10. Donaldson v. Grundmann (filed Apr 16, 2014)
    Robert Donnell Donaldson requested the FOIA request logs for the Merit Systems Protection Board from 2005 to the present. The agency did not respond within the statutory time limits and Donaldson filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of records, production of Vaughn index, order agency to identify regulations that allow it to “pick and choose” which records it retains, punitive damages in excess of $15, 000, sanction agency $10, 000 a day until it produces information
  11. Gallagher-Kaiser Corporation v. United States Department of Transportation (filed Apr 16, 2014)
    Gallagher-Kaiser Corporation, a construction company working as a subcontractor on a contract awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration for work at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, became involved in a dispute over work delays with the contractor. It made a FOIA request to the FAA for various records concerning the contract. The FAA acknowledged receipt of the request and told Gallagher-Kaiser that it would take six months to respond to its request. However, after six months had passed, the agency still had not responded to the company’s request and Gallagher-Kaiser filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, find agency behavior was arbitrary and capricious, attorney’s fees
  12. Rodriguez v. U.S. Department of Justice et al (filed Apr 17, 2014)
    Constantino Canelos Rodriguez, a Mexican citizen, submitted a FOIA request to the Drug Enforcement Administration for all records concerning himself. The agency located a file and released two pages to Rodriguez. The agency further indicated that there appeared to be other potentially responsive records, but that he should make another request for them. He requested a further search and provided a time-frame and the incident in which he was interested. The agency then told Rodriguez that its search had uncovered an additional 11 related files that it would not search until he agreed to pay $1,120 in estimated search fees. Rodriguez paid the $1,120 estimated fee and the agency acknowledged receipt of the payment. Nearly three years later, the agency denied Rodriguez’s request, withholding 1!
    93 pages under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), Exemption 7(D) (confidential sources), Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques), and Exempti8on 7(F) (harm to any person’s safety). Rodriguez appealed the denial and asked for an accounting of the actual costs. The agency upheld the denial. Rodriguez then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, expeditious proceedings, refund of amount of processing fee not actually incurred, accounting, attorney’s fees
  13. Robinson v. The State of Texas (filed Apr 18, 2014)
    Joe Earl Robinson, a Texas state prisoner, filed a suit citing FOIA, and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as the basis for his request for the transcripts of his trial in state court in Dallas. This is not a FOIA suit since Robinson has no federal cause of action against the Texas state courts.
    Issues: N/A

In addition, we have added 3 documents from 1 case, with an earlier filing date, that has recently appeared on PACER.

  • Wallace v. FBI (filed Apr 4, 2014)
    Kelly Wallace filed suit against the FBI to force the agency to stop conducting surveillance of his brain and thoughts. The complaint is unclear whether Wallace is seeking records or wants the agency to stop its surveillance of him. This really doesn’t qualify as a FOIA case.
    Issues: N/A

FOIA Activity: 6 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

We have added 6 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between April 6, 2014 and April 12, 2014. These are associated with 6 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. CAN 3:2014cv00994Plotz v. Drug Enforcement Administration
    • April 8, 2014: STIPULATION AND ORDER re [11] STIPULATION WITH PROPOSED ORDER for Continuance of Response to Complaint and Case Management deadlines filed by Drug Enforcement Administration. Case Management Statement due by 7/9/2014. Initial Case Management Conference set for 7/23/2014 at 2:00 PM in Courtroom 9, 19th Floor, San Francisco. Signed by Judge Jon S. Tigar on April 8, 2014. (wsn, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/8/2014)
  2. CAN 4:2011cv02267Gonzales & Gonzales Bonds and Insurance Agency, Inc. v. United States Department of Homeland Security
    • April 8, 2014: Order by Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu granting [87] Stipulation.(dmrlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/8/2014)
  3. CAN 4:2012cv01013First Amendment Coalition v. U.S. Department of Justice
    • April 11, 2014: ORDER by Judge Claudia Wilken GRANTING DEFENDANT’S [63] MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF’S [66] CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT. (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/11/2014) Modified on 4/14/2014 (cpS, COURT STAFF).
  4. CO 1:2013cv01722Brown et al v. Perez
    • April 7, 2014: ORDER setting case for trial: Trial Preparation Conference set for 9/3/2014 at 01:30 PM in Courtroom A 601 before Judge Raymond P. Moore. A two day Bench Trial is set to commence 10/1/2014, 9:00 AM in Courtroom A 601 before Judge Raymond P. Moore. By Judge Raymond P. Moore on 4/7/2014. (trlee, )
  5. DC 1:2012cv00366DESILVA v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
    • April 10, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 4/10/2014. (lcrbw2)
  6. MIE 4:2012cv14234Hertz Schram PC et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • April 9, 2014: ORDER Granting Leave for Defendant Federal Bureau of Investigation to File a Second Summary Judgment Motion and Adjourning Scheduling Dates Pending Further Order of the Court, ( Response due by 4/23/2014 ). Signed by District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. (Goltz, D)

32 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

We have added 32 documents from 5 FOIA cases filed between April 6, 2014 and April 12, 2014. 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. COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Apr 9, 2014)
    The Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for text messages sent to or from 11 identified agency employees whom CEI believed received text messages from Administrator Gina McCarthy that had been destroyed. CEI also requested a fee waiver and to be placed in the news media fee category. EPA denied CEI’s request for a fee waiver because it had failed to show how it would broadly disseminate information. The agency also refused to categorize CEI as a representative of the news media for fee purposes because, although CEI was a source for news media outlets, it had not shown that it was a news media organization itself. CEI appealed the denial administratively, which was upheld by the agency. CEI then filed suit.
    Iss!
    ues:
    grant fee waiver, improper withholding, disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  2. STS ENERGY PARTNERS LP v. FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (filed Apr 10, 2014)
    STS Energy Partners submitted two FOIA requests to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for records concerning two complaints filed with the Commission. The agency denied STS’s requests entirely on the basis of Exemption 7(A) (ongoing investigation or proceeding) and Exemption 5 (privileges). STS appealed the agency’s denial of both requests, but the agency upheld the denials in both cases. STS then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  3. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE (filed Apr 10, 2014)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted two FOIA requests to the U.S. Forest Service. The first request was for records concerning incidences of violence against agency employees in 2013. The second request was for records concerning the non-law enforcement use of U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations personnel. PEER asked for a fee waiver for both requests. The agency acknowledged receipt of both requests. It asked for further information justifying the fee waiver request for PEER’s first request, but did not contact PEER concerning the second request. After hearing nothing further from the agency on either request, PEER filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholdi!
    ng, retain jurisdiction until agency properly processes requests, attorney’s fees
  4. American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Mass v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, et al (filed Apr 10, 2014)
    The ACLU of Massachusetts submitted FOIA requests to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts for records concerning how the FBI collaborates with state and local Massachusetts police, the organization and operation of the Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the shooting of suspect Ibragim Todashev. The ACLU also requested expedited processing, a fee waiver, and inclusion in the news media category for fee purposes. The FBI acknowledged the request and granted expedited processing. The agency withheld all records concerning Todashev under Exemption 7(A) (ongoing investigation or proceeding). The ACLU appealed the FBI’s decision to the Office of Information Policy. Having heard nothing further from OIP or the U.!
    S. Attorney, the ACLU filed suit.
    Issues: immediate processing and disclosure of all non-exempt records, enjoin agency from assessing fees, attorney’s fees
  5. Justice v. Mine Safety and Health Administration (filed Apr 10, 2014)
    Marshall Justice, a coal miner, submitted a FOIA request to the Mine Safety and Health Administration concerning the investigation of an anti-retaliation complaint he had filed with the agency. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and indicated that it was working on a response, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Justice filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees

FOIA Activity: 8 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

We have added 8 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between March 30, 2014 and April 5, 2014. 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. CAN 3:2014cv00994Plotz v. Drug Enforcement Administration
    • April 4, 2014: ORDER, Case reassigned to Hon. Jon S. Tigar. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero no longer assigned to the case.. Signed by Executive Committee on 4/4/14. (ha, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/4/2014)
  2. CT 3:2010cv01972Vietnam Veterans of America Connecticut et al v. Defense et al
    • March 31, 2014: ORDER: Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. [37] ) is hereby GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. It is so ordered. Signed by Judge Alvin W. Thompson on 03/31/2014. (Bowers, J.)
  3. DC 1:2006cv00096ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • April 1, 2014: MEMORANDUM re: ORDER on [50] Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on April 1, 2014. (lcrcl5)
  4. DC 1:2006cv00214AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • March 31, 2014: MEMORANDUM re: Order on [35] Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Royce C. Lamberth on March 31, 2014. (lcrcl5)
  5. DC 1:2013cv00714BRUSTEIN & MANASEVIT, PLLC v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
    • March 31, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. See attached Memorandum Opinion and accompanying Order for details. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 03/31/2014. (lckbj2)
  6. DC 1:2013cv00729SHAPIRO v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • March 31, 2014: OPINION granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in part and denying plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in part, and holding the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment in abeyance. An appropriate order accompanies this opinion. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on March 31, 2014.(MA)
  7. PAW 2:2014cv00280SAGI v. U.S. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT
    • April 3, 2014: ORDER re [7] Stipulation of Dismissal filed by DANIEL SAGI. Case is dismissed with prejudice subject to this Court retaining jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the parties’ stipulation. Clerk is to mark CASE CLOSED. Signed by Judge Maurice B. Cohill on 4/3/14. (bfm )
  8. UT 2:2013cv00056Williams v. Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • March 31, 2014: MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER granting [13] Motion for Summary Judgment; denying [17] Motion for Discovery. Signed by Judge David Nuffer on 3/31/14 (alt)

75 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

We have added 68 documents from 11 FOIA cases filed between March 30, 2014 and April 5, 2014. 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. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE et al v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to EPA for copies of emails, text messages, or instant messages sent to or from the Office of Water containing certain words, including selenium. The Institute also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the Institute’s request for a fee waiver. The agency indicated it would not process the request further without a commitment to pay fees or unless the Institute narrowed the scope of its request. After discussions about narrowing the scope of the request, the agency indicated it would provide a fee estimate for the revised scope of the request. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Institute filed suit.
    Issues: !
    g>fee waiver, disclosure of non-exempt records, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  2. BAROUCH v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    David Jack Barouch submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for records concerning his criminal conviction. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Barouch filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, costs
  3. CAUSE OF ACTION v. US CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    Cause of Action submitted a FOIA request to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for records concerning its decision to recall Buckyballs and Buckycubes, small high-powered magnetic objects that can be placed in a variety of shapes and arrangements. Cause of Action also requested a fee waiver and placement in the news media fee category. CPSC acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Cause of Action filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  4. GIANNONE v. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    Jonathan Giannone submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys for all records concerning his conviction for wire fraud. His request was sent during the government shutdown in October and after the government reopened, the Office of Information Policy contacted Giannone and indicated that his request had been referred to EOUSA. However, Giannone was unable to get any further response from EOUSA and filed suit.
    Issues: process plaintiff’s request, immediate disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  5. Abdul-Alim v. Comey et al (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    Ayyub Abdul-Alim submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for any investigatory records concerning himself. The FBI acknowledged receipt of the request, but indicated he was required to confirm his identity. After some further back and forth on the issue of identification, the agency finally accepted his request, but indicated it would take 418 days before a search for records would begin. Abdul-Alim then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  6. Bickel & Brewer v. United States Department of Health And Human Services et al (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    The law firm of Bickel & Brewer, representing 3M, submitted a request to the National Institutes of Health for records concerning a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded study of the effects of perfluorochemicals on the immune systems of children in a North Atlantic fishing community. NIEHS indicated that it would withhold certain types of information unless the requester objected. The law firm objected to redaction of information about private sources of funding, as well as references to unpublished articles. The agency continued to take the position that such information was considered confidential. It also told the law firm that it never had custody of any raw data from the study. The law firm appealed to the Department of Health and H!
    uman Services, but after hearing nothing further, the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding under Exemption 4, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  7. Prison Legal News v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Apr 2, 2014)
    Prison Legal News submitted a FOIA request to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning inmate telephone services and related services at a detention facility in Washington. Prison Legal News requested a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Prison Legal News filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, adequacy of search, fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  8. ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE v. ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE (filed Apr 3, 2014)
    The Animal Welfare Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for records concerning APHIS-Wildlife Service activities in Arizona and New Mexico. APHIS acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, AWI filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  9. WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES DEPARMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Apr 3, 2014)
    Marty Lorenzo Wright submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys for records concerning any grants of immunity or non-prosecution of individuals as a result of their cooperation during Wright’s criminal prosecution. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Wright filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, attorney’s fee
  10. Chisholm Chishol & Kilpratrick, LTD v. Shinseki (filed Apr 3, 2014)
    The law firm of Chisholm Chisholm & Kirkpatrick submitted a request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the C-file for one of its clients. The VA did not respond and the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees and costs
  11. Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. U.S. Geological Survey (filed Apr 4, 2014)
    The Alliance for the Wild Rockies submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Geological Survey for records concerning the Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear DNA Project. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after several attempts to contact the agency failed to produce results, the Alliance filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 7 documents from 2 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  • Patrick M Flinn v. United States of America, et al (filed Mar 28, 2014)
    Patrick Flinn was detained at the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigation Office in Los Angeles. He subsequently submitted FOIA requests to the agency for records concerning his detention. The agency told Flinn it was working on his requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of records, attorney fees and costs
  • EWELL v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CRIMINAL DIVISION et al (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Eric Ewell, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Justice Department’s Criminal Division for records authorizing the wiretapping of his communications. The Criminal Division acknowledged receipt of the request and told Ewell that wiretap authorization records were protected by Exemption 3 (other statutes). Ewell filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy, but after hearing nothing further from OIP, Ewell filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees and costs, award of monetary damages for improper withholding

FOIA Activity: 12 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

We have added 12 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between March 23, 2014 and March 29, 2014. 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 2:2013cv02204Laborers International Union of North America Pacific Soutohwest Region v. U.S. Department of Energy
    • March 26, 2014: STIPULATION and ORDER signed by Chief Judge Morrison C. England, Jr on 3/25/14 ORDERING the parties hereby stipulate and agree that information regarding the three Power Equipment Operators, groups 3, 9, and 11, can be redacted from the certified payroll records at issue and will not be an issue to be determined in this litigation. (Becknal, R)
  2. CO 1:2011cv02544Evans v. Central Intelligence Agency
    • March 26, 2014: MINUTE ORDER granting [37] Unopposed Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint Pursuant to Freedom of Information Act, and Rule 7.1(a) Certification. By Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix on 3/26/2014.(klyon, )
  3. CO 1:2013cv01722Brown et al v. Perez
    • March 24, 2014: MINUTE ORDER denying [54] Motion to Vacate. The Final Pretrial Conference set for April 7, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. will go forward as scheduled. By Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe on 3/24/2014.(trlee, )
  4. CT 3:2011cv02009Vietnam Veterans of America Connecticut Greater Hartford Chapter 120 et al v. Defense et al
    • March 28, 2014: ORDER: The Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. [11] ) is hereby DENIED. It is so ordered. Signed by Judge Alvin W. Thompson on 03/28/2014. (Bowers, J.)
  5. DC 1:2010cv00027ADIONSER v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al
    • March 28, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Richard J. Leon on 03/28/2014. (jth)
  6. DC 1:2012cv00931JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU
    • March 27, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on March 27, 2014. (lcegs4)
  7. DC 1:2012cv01923RODRIGUEZ v. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY et al
    • March 27, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION granting [15] Motion for Summary Judgment; denying [17] Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 3/27/2014. (lcrc2)
  8. DC 1:2013cv00141ODLAND et al v. FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
    • March 27, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION regarding cross motions for summary judgment. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 3/27/2014. (KD)
  9. FLM 5:2013cv00420Freedom Watch, Inc. v. Department of the Navy et al
    • March 26, 2014: ORDER denying without prejudice [16] Motion for telephonic hearing. See Order for details. Signed by Magistrate Judge Philip R. Lammens on 3/26/2014. (JWM)
  10. NV 2:2010cv02040Black v. United States Department of Homeland Security
    • March 28, 2014: ORDER that [66] Plaintiff Jeffrey Black’s Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that [69] Department of Homeland Security’s Cross Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. Clerk is instructed to enter judgment and close the case. Signed by Judge James C. Mahan on 3/28/2014. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF – EDS)
  11. TXN 3:2012cv04528Stone v. United States Department of Justice
    • March 28, 2014: Memorandum Opinion and Order: The court grants [20] Defendant’s Second Amended Motion to Dismiss, denies as moot Defendants’ Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment, and dismisses without prejudice this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Ordered by Judge Sam A Lindsay on 3/28/2014) (jrr)
  12. WAE 2:2013cv03067Community Association for Restoration of the Environment Inc v. United States Environmental Protection Agency
    • March 27, 2014: ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER AND TO STAY DISCOVERY. Defendants Motion for a Protective Order and Motion to Stay ECF No. [21] is GRANTED. Discovery is stayed until such time as the Court directs, after the Courts ruling on t he parties forthcoming motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs Motion for a Telephonic Status Conference ECF No. [26] is DENIED as moot. Plaintiffs Motion to Expedite ECF No. [28] is GRANTED. Signed by Judge Thomas O. Rice. (LLH, Courtroom Deputy)

100 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

We have added 95 documents from 12 FOIA cases filed between March 23, 2014 and March 29, 2014. 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. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY (filed Mar 24, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Treasury for records concerning the delay of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after the expiration of the statutory time limit for responding, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  2. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the award of the Louis E. Peters Memorial Award to Mohammed Elibiary on September 8, 2011. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  3. CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF SERVICES, ALSO DBA CONSUMERS’ CHECKBOOK v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES et al (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    Consumers’ Checkbook submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning benefit designs for healthcare insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act exchanges for 2014 and asked for expedited processing. The agency granted Consumers’ Checkbook’s request for expedited processing. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency in the subsequent four months, Consumers’ Checkbook filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, expeditious proceedings, enjoin agency from withholding similar information for future plan years, retain jurisdiction over agency for disclosure of future plan years, attorney’s fees! li>
  4. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE et al v. FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute made a FOIA request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for records concerning an alleged attempt by a former Commission chairman to reclassify one of his political employees as a career employee and asked for a fee waiver. The agency located 36 emails but withheld them all under Exemption 5 (privileges). The Legal Institute appealed the agency’s denial, which was upheld. The Legal Institute then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  5. Cuautli Flores et al v. Johnson et al (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    Teodulo Cuautli Flores and his wife, Maria Eugenia Ramos Cortes, both Mexican citizens with valid Mexican passports, were detained when they tried to enter the United States at El Paso. Both were then ordered to be removed from the United States and prohibited from returning for a period of five years. Both Flores and Cortes submitted FOIA requests to Customs and Border Protection for records about themselves. After hearing nothing from the agency, Flores and Cortes filed suit.
    Issues: process FOIA requests, adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records, grant fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  6. Doe 1 v. US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (filed Mar 26, 2014)
    John Doe, a police officer in New Hampshire, and several other police officers were shot and injured as a result of actions taken by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. They filed suit in state court. They submitted a FOIA request to BATF for records concerning the shooting incident. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Doe filed an administrative appeal. At that time, the agency indicated that the records were subject to Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding), but the agency would conduct a further search. After hearing nothing more, Doe filed suit.
    Issues: expedited proceedings, disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  7. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning testing of software for insurance transactions through healthcare.gov. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  8. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning contracts awarded to private entities to provide navigators to assist individuals with the healthcare.gov website. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  9. THE C-123 VETERANS ASSOCIATION et al v. US DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    C-123 Veterans Association submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs concerning its policies on secondary exposure to Agent Orange. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing, the Association submitted an administrative appeal. The agency indicated that it had searched its records but found nothing responsive to the request. Believing that VA had misinterpreted its request, the Association filed another appeal, but finally filed suit.
    Issues: expedited proceedings, improper withholding, adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records, grant fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  10. THE C-123 VETERANS ASSOCIATION et al v. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    C-123 Veterans Association submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Air Force for records concerning its decision on the Association’s members’ exposure to Agent Orange in a “Consultative Letter.” The Association also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the Association’s request for a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further, the Association submitted an administrative appeal. The agency indicated it would take longer to respond to the request, but the Association finally filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  11. Zehntner et al v. United States Forest Service et al (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Zehntner Brothers, a property holding company, submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Forest Service for records concerning the location of a county road that the State of Montana claimed was within the boundaries of property owned by the Zehntner Brothers. The Zehntner Brothers also believed the Forest Service had influenced the State’s suit. The agency classified the Zehntner Brothers as commercial requesters. After narrowing the request, the agency provided three CDs containing 2200 pages and charged the Zehntner Brothers $3,796 in fees. The Zehntner Brothers contended that at least 410 pages were duplicates and that the records did not include two Forest Service documents submitted by the State in its lawsuit. The Zehntner Brothers filed an administrative appeal and the agency uphe!
    ld its decision seven months later. Zehntner Brothers then filed suit.
    Issues: find requester was not a commercial requester, refund fees paid, conduct adequate search, find agency action was arbitrary and capricious, produce all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  12. AMERICAN WATER OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE, INC. v. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ENERGY (filed Mar 28, 2014)
    In response to a request submitted by the law firm Vinson & Elkins, the Defense Logistics Agency notified American Water Operations and Maintenance that it had received a request for information submitted by the company in a contract under the Utility Privatization program. The company objected to disclosure of its pricing information, but the agency found that the information did not qualify as confidential and decided to disclose it. American Water Operations and Maintenance then filed suit to block disclosure of the alleged proprietary information.
    Issues: enjoin disclosure of information, trade secrets, confidential business information

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

  • Coleman v. Drug Enforcement Administration et al (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    John Coleman submitted a FOIA request to the Drug Enforcement Administration for records concerning Cardinal Health, Inc., a wholesale drug distributor subject to DEA regulation. Coleman also requested a fee waiver. DEA acknowledged receipt of the request and informed Coleman that he was considered a commercial requester for fee assessment purposes. Coleman submitted an administrative appeal to the Office of Information Policy challenging both the delay in responding and the agency’s decision to place him in the commercial requester category. OIP remanded the case to DEA, which placed Coleman in the all others fee category and told him it would begin to process his request. However, after hearing nothing further, Coleman filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, gra! nt fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  • Lamatina v. United States Customs and Border Protection (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Jairo Carvalho Lamatina submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a copy of his Customs and Border Protection Entry and Exit records. After CPB failed to respond within the statutory time limits, Lamatina filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees

FOIA Activity: 11 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

We have added 11 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between March 16, 2014 and March 22, 2014. These are associated with 11 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. CAC 2:2013cv00354Stephen Yagman v. United States Department of Justice et al
    • March 22, 2014: JUDGMENT by Judge Percy Anderson. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that judgment is granted in favor of Defendants. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Plaintiff shall take nothing and that Defendant shall have their costs of suit. (MD JS-6, Case Terminated). (bp)
  2. CAN 3:2013cv02596Tri-Valley Cares v. United States Department of Energy et al
    • March 21, 2014: MODIFIED STIPULATION AND ORDER re [22] STIPULATION Continuing Case Management Conference and Further Extending Time for Federal Defendants to Respond to Complaint filed by National Nuclear Security Administration, United States Department of Energy. Case Management Statement due by 4/29/2014. Case Management Conference set for 5/6/2014 10:00 AM in Courtroom E, 15th Floor, San Francisco. Signed by Judge Elizabeth D Laporte on 3/20/2014. (knm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/21/2014)
  3. CAN 4:2009cv03351Electronic Frontier Foundation v. Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    • March 21, 2014: ORDER by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong Granting [87] Stipulation. (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/21/2014)
  4. CO 1:2014cv00802Al-Turki v. Department of Justice
    • March 19, 2014: ORDER DRAWING CASE. This case shall be drawn to a presiding judge and, if appropriate, to a magistrate judge, by Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer on 3/19/14. (smoor, )
  5. DC 1:2010cv01706PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
    • March 20, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION re : Defendant’s [10] MOTION for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff’s [11] MOTION for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Robert L. Wilkins on 3/20/2014. (tcb)
  6. DC 1:2011cv01972AMERICAN IMMIGRATION COUNCIL v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al
    • March 21, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION re [46] Order. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 3/21/14. (lcjeb1)
  7. DC 1:2012cv00172JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
    • March 17, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. See attached Memorandum Opinion and accompanying Order for details. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 03/17/2014. (lckbj2)
  8. DC 1:2012cv00649SCHMITZ v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICE OF INFORMATION POLICY
    • March 20, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION accompanying final order issued separately this day. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 3/20/14.(ah)
  9. FLM 8:2012cv02103Tostige v. United States Postal Service
    • March 21, 2014: ORDER granting [21] –motion for summary judgment; directing the Clerk to ENTER JUDGMENT for the defendant and against the plaintiff, to TERMINATE any pending motion, and to CLOSE the case. Signed by Judge Steven D. Merryday on 3/21/2014. (BK)
  10. FLM 8:2013cv01731Roberts et al v. Internal Revenue Service
    • March 17, 2014: ORDER: Defendant Internal Revenue Service’s Motion to Dismiss [19] is DENIED. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington on 3/17/2014. (KAK)
  11. OR 3:2012cv01366Menchu v. US Department of Health and Human Services
    • March 21, 2014: ORDER by Judge Anna J. Brown The Court ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Acostas Findings and Recommendation [52] and, therefore, GRANTS Defendants Motion [20] for Summary Judgment and DENIES Plaintiffs Cross-Motion [24] for Summary Judgment. Signed on 03/21/2014 by Judge Anna J. Brown. See attached 4 page Order for full text. (bb)

99 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

We have added 99 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between March 16, 2014 and March 22, 2014. 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. Al-Turki v. Department of Justice (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Homaidan Al-Turki, who had been convicted and imprisoned on various state charges, submitted a request to the FBI for any records about himself from 1999 to the present. The FBI denied Al-Turki’s request under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). Al-Turki appealed the decision to the Office of Information Policy. OIP affirmed the FBI’s denial under Exemption 7(A) and found parts of the records were exempt under Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques) as well. Al-Turki then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  2. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning any government communications pertaining to December 2013 guidance on hardship exemptions for consumers whose insurance policies have been cancelled. Although the agency acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s request, it did not respond within the statutory time limit and Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, production of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  3. CALDERON v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Pablo Calderon submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service for records concerning loan guarantees to cover loan defaults of banks in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia. He also requested a fee waiver. The agency asked Calderon to narrow the scope of his request to make it more manageable, which he did. The agency then denied his fee waiver request and gave him a fee estimate of $75,000. Calderon then asked the agency if it could disclose whatever records could be made available for $5,000. The agency treated this as a new request. The agency told him it would provide a three-page document for $350 and Calderon submitted an advance payment of $250. After being unable to get any more information about the status of his request from the agency, Ca!
    lderon filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, fee waiver, fee estimate, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  4. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning the security of the healthcare.gov website. After hearing nothing more before the expiration of the statutory time limit, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, production of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  5. WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER PUBLISHING COMPANY, LLC v. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Richard Pollock, an investigative reporter for the Washington Examiner, submitted a FOIA request to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerning recent renovations of its headquarters. The agency told Pollock it had located 257 pages and was withholding 254 pages in their entirety under Exemption 5 (privileges) and Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). Pollock filed an administrative appeal. The agency upheld its decision to withhold the 254 pages, but decided its initial search was inadequate and remanded the request for a further search. As a result of the second search, the agency located another 93 pages and withheld 81 pages entirely under Exemptions 5 and 6. Pollock appealed the second determination which was affirmed. He then filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, production of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  6. Matthews v. United States Customs and Border Protection (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Nigel Alfred Scott Matthews, a citizen of the United Kingdom, made a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a Form I-275, which indicates when a non-citizen withdraws an application to enter the United States, that was issued by a CBP agent at Port Huron, Michigan in October 2012. In July 2013, he requested a copy of the Form I-275 because he needed it for his work visa application at the U.S. Consulate in the United Kingdom. After hearing nothing more about his request, Matthews filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  7. ELLIS v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Michael Ellis filed suit against the IRS, claiming the tax system relies on the creation of falsified records that have an adverse affect on him. Although the complaint cites FOIA, his cause of action is under the Privacy Act.
    Issues: falsification of records, enjoin Commissioner from collecting taxes from Ellis
  8. Matthews v. United States Customs and Border Protection (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Nigel Alfred Scott Matthews, a citizen of the United Kingdom, made a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a Form I-275, which indicates when a non-citizen withdraws an application to enter the United States, that was issued by a CBP agent at Port Huron, Michigan in October 2012. In July 2013, he requested a copy of the Form I-275 because he needed it for his work visa application at the U.S. Consulate in the United Kingdom. After hearing nothing more about his request, Matthews filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  9. ELKINS v. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (filed Mar 20, 2014)
    David Elkins, a resident of Florida, made a FOIA request to the Federal Aviation Administration for records concerning an airplane he believed was conducting surveillance of him at his residence. To the extent it responded to his request, the FAA withheld some records on the basis of Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Elkins filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records, order FAA to discontinue its improper use of Exemption 7(E)
  10. FREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Freedom Watch submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for any leaked information pertaining to the Davis County, Colorado District Attorney’s Office. Freedom Watch requested a fee waiver and expedited processing. The CIA responded that it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of records. Freedom Watch filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing from the agency, Freedom Watch filed suit.
    Issues: expedited search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees and costs
  11. ROBINSON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Kevin Robinson submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Interior for records created or used by former agency employee Anthony M. Babauta from 2009-2012 concerning the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Robinson agreed to pay $100 and asked for a fee waiver for any costs above that amount. The agency assessed Robinson $400 in search fees, which he paid. The agency eventually released documents, but redacted 226 pages under Exemption 4 (confidential business information), Exemption 5 (privileges), Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), and Exemption 7 (law enforcement records). Robinson appealed, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  12. MCCLANAHAN et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Kelly McClanahan submitted several requests to the FBI for records concerning his involvement with several national security-related cases, including an investigation of his inadvertent possession of classified documents. The FBI denied his requests on the basis of Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation). He appealed the denial of both his requests to OIP, which upheld the FBI’s decision. McClanahan also submitted a request to Justice Management Division for records concerning how the investigation of his possession of classified information was conducted. McClanahan heard nothing further concerning this request. Cori Crider, an attorney for Reprieve in the United Kingdom, also submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning herself. The agency failed to respond furt!
    her. McClanahan and Crider then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all requested records, injunctive relief if necessary, attorney’s fees
  13. JOHNSON v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Jessica Johnson works as an investigator for the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which represents death-sentence prisoner Odell Corley. Johnson had made requests to the FBI for records concerning Corley. In preparation for filing a FOIA suit against the FBI, Johnson requested a waiver of fees for filing her action since she works for a government-funded office.
    Issues: waiver of filing fee
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