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Jul 22 14

FOIA Activity: 18 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 18 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 29, 2014 and July 19, 2014. These are associated with 14 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 2:2011cv02799(PS) Jones v. Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
    • July 1, 2014: MEMORANDUM and ORDER signed by Chief Judge Morrison C. England, Jr on 6/30/14 ORDERING for the reasons set forth above, Plaintiff's August 15, 2013 filing, ECF No. [75] , is not a motion listed in Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4 (a)(4). The Clerk of the Court is ORDERED to transmit a copy of this Order to the Clerk of the Court of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for filing on the docket of Case No. 13-17088. (cc USCA) (Becknal, R)
    • July 14, 2014: ORDER re [84] USCA Referral Notice signed by Chief Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. on 7/11/2014 REVOKING the plaintiff's IFP Status; DIRECTING the Clerk of Court to transmit a copy of this Order to the Clerk of the Court of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for filing on the docket of Case No. 13-17088. (cc: Ninth Circuit) (Michel, G)
  2. CAN 3:2010cv03759The American Civil Liberties Union of North California et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • July 17, 2014: STIPULATION AND ORDER AMENDING BRIEFING SCHEDULE. Signed by Judge Richard Seeborg on 7/17/14. (cl, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/17/2014)
  3. CAN 3:2014cv02166American Small Business League v. Department of Defense
    • July 1, 2014: ORDER, Case reassigned to Hon. William Alsup. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler no longer assigned to the case.. Signed by Executive Committee on 7/1/14. (ha, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/1/2014)
    • July 14, 2014: SUPPLEMENTAL ORDER TO ORDER SETTING INITIAL CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE re [9] Clerks Notice. Signed by Judge William Alsup on 10/16/12. (dt, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/14/2014)
  4. CAN 3:2014cv02168American Small Business League v. United States Department of the Army
    • July 1, 2014: ORDER, Case reassigned to Hon. Vince Chhabria. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler no longer assigned to the case.. Signed by Executive Committee on 7/1/14. (ha, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/1/2014)
  5. CAN 4:2009cv03351Electronic Frontier Foundation v. Office of the Director of National Intelligence
    • July 10, 2014: ORDER ( 94 STIPULATION Staying Proceedings terminated). ***Civil Case Terminated.*** Signed by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong on 7/10/2014. (ndr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/10/2014)
  6. CAN 4:2013cv05924Henry et al v. Department of Justice
    • June 30, 2014: ORDER Vacating 7/2/14 Case Management Conference and Setting Briefing and Hearing Schedule on Parties' Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. Signed by Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu on 06/30/2014. (dmrlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/30/2014)
    • July 17, 2014: AMENDED ORDER Vacating 7/2/14 Case Management Conference and Setting Briefing and Hearing Schedule on Parties' Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. Signed by Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu on 7/17/2014. (ig, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/17/2014).
  7. CAS 3:2014cv00958Rodriguez v. U.S. Department of Justice et al
    • July 7, 2014: Order Following ENE. Early Neutral Evaluation Conference held on 7/2/14. Telephonic Case Management Conference set for 8/11/2014 9:00 AM before Magistrate Judge Barbara Lynn Major. Telephonic Early case management Conference will be also held on 11/3/14 @9:00 AM before Magistrate Judge Barbara Lynn Major.. Signed by Magistrate Judge Barbara Lynn Major on 7/7/2014.(av1)
  8. CO 1:2014cv01282Western Energy Alliance v. United States Geological Survey
    • June 30, 2014: ORDER Setting Scheduling Conference for 8/20/2014 at 11:30 AM in Conference Room, proposed order (original only) on paper, shall be submitted directly to chambers by 4:00 p.m. on August 14, 2014, lead counsel present in person, and initial disclosures under Rule 26(a)(1) will be completed no later than 10 calendar days before the scheduling conference, by Judge Richard P. Matsch on 6/30/2014. (jsmit)
  9. DC 1:2012cv00244SACK v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY et al
    • July 10, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on July 10, 2014. (lcegs2)
  10. DC 1:2012cv01441ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • July 18, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 7/18/2014. (lcabj1)
  11. DC 1:2012cv01510JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • July 18, 2014: ORDER granting in part [35] plaintiff's motion to lift stay. See text of Order for details. Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 7/18/14. (lcjdb2)
  12. DC 1:2014cv00403SAI v. TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
    • July 7, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on July 7, 2014. (lcesh1)
  13. PAE 2:2013cv05596ARDEN v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    • July 3, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE NITZA I QUINONES ALEJANDRO ON 7/3/2014. 7/7/2014 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE AND E-MAILED.(amas)
    • July 3, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION ORDER THAT THE MOTION TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT FILED BY DEFENDANT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (DOC. NO. [9] ), IS GRANTED. PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS ARE DISMISSED, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES. THE CLERK OF COURT IS DIRECTED TO MARK THIS MATTER CLOSED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE NITZA I QUINONES ALEJANDRO ON 7/3/2014. 7/7/2014 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE AND E-MAILED.(amas)
  14. WIW 3:2014cv00369Ibeagwa v. United States of America (Internal Revenue Service)
    • July 17, 2014: ORDER denying [30] Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by District Judge Barbara B. Crabb on 7/17/2014. (nln),(ps)
Jul 3 14

FOIA Activity: 2 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 2 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 22, 2014 and June 28, 2014. These are associated with 1 FOIA case 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 the case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  • PAE 2:2013cv03657ARDEN v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    • June 27, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND ORDER THAT THE MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL AND FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FILED BY DEFENDANT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS GRANTED; ETC.. SIGNED BY HONORABLE NITZA I QUINONES ALEJANDRO ON 6/27/14. 6/27/14 ENTERED AND E-MAILED, MAILED TO PRO SE.(jl, )
    • June 27, 2014: ORDER THAT THE MOTION FOR DISMISSAL AND FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IS GRANTED. THE CLERK OF COURT IS DIRECTED TO MARK THIS MATTER CLOSED; ETC.. SIGNED BY HONORABLE NITZA I QUINONES ALEJANDRO ON 6/27/14. 6/27/14 ENTERED AND MAILED TO PRO SE, EMAILED.(jl, )
Jul 3 14

37 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 37 documents from 7 FOIA cases filed between June 22, 2014 and June 28, 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 JUSTICE (filed Jun 23, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Justice Department for records concerning communications between Deputy Attorney General James Cole and several legal organizations related to the Clemency Project. After hearing nothing further from the agency before the expiration of the 20-day time limit, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  2. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 23, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Justice Department for all emails from the Voting Section to Attorney General Eric Holder and other DOJ officials from October 2008 to December 2009. DOJ acknowledged receipt of the request and asked Judicial Watch to narrow the scope of the request. Judicial Watch narrowed the scope of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  3. Myers v. Stephens et al (filed Jun 23, 2014)
    Michael Myers made a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records pertaining to evidence collected as part of his investigation and conviction. After appealing to the Office of Information Policy, which remanded the request to EOUSA for further processing, he filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all requested records, explanation of reasons for withholding records if claimed to be exempt, admission by agency that records were exculpatory
  4. LEOPOLD et al v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Jun 24, 2014)
    Investigative journalist Jason Leopold and MIT Ph.D. student Ryan Shapiro submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for records concerning the ongoing dispute between the agency and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence pertaining to the committee’s ability to access classified information. Leopold and Shapiro requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied Leopold and Shapiro expedited processing, but made no decision on the fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Leopold and Shapiro filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, grant expedited processing, disclosure of all non-exempt records without fees, attorney’s fees
  5. Fleming v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 24, 2014)
    George Fleming submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas for records concerning his fraud trial. The agency acknowledged receipt of his request and asked for authentication. Fleming complied, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, attorney’s fees
  6. Evangelisti v. Perez et al. (filed Jun 25, 2014)
    John Evangelisti, an attorney, requested a copy of a CD containing a master copy of physicians used by Elsevier in scheduling Independent Medical Examinations. The CD had been sent to Elsevier as an attachment to a letter from the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs at the Department of Labor informing the company that the Office had received several FOIA requests for the company’s list of physicians used in scheduling Independent Medical Examinations. When the Office failed to respond within the statutory time limit, Evangelisti filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  7. HALL v. U.S. BUREAU OF PRISONS et al (filed Jun 26, 2014)
    Virgil Hall, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA/PA request to the Bureau of Prisons for records indicating who had signed his indictment. His request went unanswered. He then filed suit, claiming several violations of the Privacy Act – failure to provide an accounting of disclosures, and failure to maintain records in an accurate, fair, and complete manner. He also alleged this was intentional on the part of the agency.
    Issues: destruction of inaccurate records, appropriate relief
Jun 26 14

FOIA Activity: 8 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 8 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 15, 2014 and June 21, 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 3:2013cv02789Public.Resource.org v. United States Internal Revenue Service
    • June 20, 2014: ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS by Hon. William H. Orrick denying [14] Motion to Dismiss. (jmdS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/20/2014)
  2. CAN 3:2013cv06017Carlson v. United States Postal Service
    • June 17, 2014: ORDER granting [20] STIPULATION WITH PROPOSED ORDER continuing Settlement Conference until 9/5/2014 10:00 AM at 1301 Clay St., Oakland, CA. Signed by Judge Kandis A. Westmore on 6/17/2014. (kawlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/17/2014) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/19/2014: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (sisS, COURT STAFF).
  3. CAN 4:2013cv05618Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment et al v. Federal Housing Finance Agency
    • June 19, 2014: STIPULATION AND ORDER, Motion granted: [45] STIPULATION WITH PROPOSED ORDER TO MODIFY BRIEFING SCHEDULE. Responses due by 6/24/2014. Replies due by 7/10/2014. Signed by Judge Kandis A. Westmore on 06/19/2014. (kawlc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/19/2014)
  4. DC 1:2012cv00537SACK v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY et al
    • June 17, 2014: Memorandum Opinion Re. 26 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 6/17/2014. (lccrc1, ).
  5. DC 1:2012cv00865MARINO v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al
    • June 19, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on June 19, 2014. (lcrmc3)
  6. DC 1:2013cv01962ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT et al v. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
    • June 16, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part [14] Motion to Amend/Correct Complaint. Plaintiffs shall file an Amended Complaint joining OMB but not EPA on or before June 23, 2014. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 6/16/2014. (lccrc1, ).
  7. OHS 1:2013cv00651Howard v. Railroad Retirement Board
    • June 20, 2014: OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re [36] Report and Recommendation. The Court hereby GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [13] and DISMISSES this matter from the docket. As such, the remaining motions on the docket are denied as MOOT [18] 22 [23] 26 [27] 30 [33] This case is closed. Signed by Judge S Arthur Spiegel on 6/19/2014. (km1) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/20/2014: # 1 Certified Mail Receipt) (km1).
  8. WAW 2:2013cv00945St. Germain et al v. United States Department of Interior et al
    • June 18, 2014: ORDER terminating [29] Defendants' Motion for an order declaring the standards of review applicable to plaintiffs' claims, by Judge Richard A Jones.(MD)
Jun 26 14

39 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 39 documents from 8 FOIA cases filed between June 15, 2014 and June 21, 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. AQUALLIANCE v. UNITED STATES BUREAU OF RECLAMATION (filed Jun 16, 2014)
    Aqualliance, a non-profit dedicated to defending northern California waterways, submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Reclamation for records concerning the amount of water transferred in 2013 under the purview of federal and California water authorities. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, indicated that it was considered a voluminous request, and asked for clarification. Aqualliance provided the needed clarification and BLM indicated it would begin providing interim responses, and, further, that some information might be exempt. Aqualliance submitted a second FOIA request to BLM for records of all applications for approval of specific water transfers from the Sacramento River watershed to south of the Delta. The agency acknowledged receipt of the second request and again indicated that its size meant it would take a considerable amount of time to process. The agency further told Aqualliance that it was reviewing the documents for exemptions. The agency then provided an interim response to the first request. After receiving nothing further pertaining to either request, Aqualliance filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all responsive records, attorney’s fees
  2. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 17, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records from the Interactive Case Management System detailing the number of hours DOJ Attorney Barbara Bosserman spent on the investigation of the IRS for targeting conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. After the agency failed to respond within the 20-day time limit, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  3. Meyer v. Social Security (filed Jun 18, 2014)
    Eric Meyer and a number of other plaintiffs filed suit against the Social Security Administration and other feral government components seeking to invalidate the privacy restrictions contained in the privacy regulations for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, arguing that they prohibit unrelated individuals from contacting each other. This is not a FOIA action, but instead is an attempt to repeal privacy restrictions on personal information.
    Issues: N/A
  4. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (filed Jun 17, 2014)
    PEER submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records concerning FEMA’s administration of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Energy Allocation Initiative grants for Superstorm Sandy in the State of New Jersey. FEMA acknowledged receipt of the request and indicated it would take a 10-day extension. After hearing nothing further from the agency, PEER filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all responsive records, attorney’s fees
  5. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (filed Jun 17, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Defense for records concerning the processing of a previous Judicial Watch request submitted in May 2011. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and indicated it would be unable to respond within 20 days. After the expiration of the 20-day time limit, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  6. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Jun 18, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted two FOIA requests to the Internal Revenue Service for records concerning allegations that several agency employees had urged taxpayers to vote for President Obama in violation of the Hatch Act. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and several weeks later denied Judicial Watch’s requests by indicating that records pertaining to alleged violations of the Hatch Act were considered personal records rather than agency records. Judicial Watch filed an administrative appeal and the agency upheld its original denial. Judicial Watch then filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  7. Patel et al v. Department of Health and Human Services (filed Jun 18, 2014)
    Shatish Patel and three other doctors submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concerning St. Luke’s Sugar Land Hospital. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and the doctors were told that the regional office had gathered records responsive to their request. However, after failing to provide any responsive records, the doctors filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, immediate disclosure of all responsive documents, attorney’s fees
  8. Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP v. United States Food and Drug Administration (filed Jun 20, 2014)
    The law firm of Faruqi and Faruqi, the court-appointed counsel for a securities class action suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit against Chelsea Therapeutics International, submitted an email request to the FDA for information letters sent to Chelsea Therapeutics. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, the law firm sent a second identical email request, which was also acknowledged. However, after hearing nothing more pertaining to either request, the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all responsive records, attorney’s fees
Jun 20 14

FOIA Activity: 5 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 5 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 8, 2014 and June 14, 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. DC 1:2012cv01088FREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY et al
    • June 12, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION re: 11 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 6/12/2014. (lccrc1, ).
  2. DC 1:2013cv01566ABTEW v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
    • June 13, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 6/13/2014. (lcabj1)
  3. HI 1:2014cv00225Cassell v. Primus Automobile Financial
    • June 10, 2014: ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION (ECF NO. 6) re [6] – Signed by JUDGE HELEN GILLMOR on 6/10/2014. "Plaintiff is granted leave to submit the appropriate removal documents or amended complaint to cure the deficiencies outlined in the Findings and Recommendation (ECF No. 6) on or before July 10, 2014." (emt, ) CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE Participants registered to receive electronic notifications received this document electronically at the e-mail address listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF). Jerry R. Cassell served by first class mail at the address of record on June 10, 2014.
  4. MD 1:2013cv01878Orly Taitz v. Colvin
  5. NV 3:2013cv00625Bergeron v. United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    • June 10, 2014: ORDER denying as moot Defendant's [14] Motion to Strike. Signed by Magistrate Judge William G. Cobb on 6/10/2014. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF – KR)
Jun 20 14

101 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 101 documents from 10 FOIA cases filed between June 8, 2014 and June 14, 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. PRISOLOGY v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (filed Jun 8, 2014)
    Prisology, a non-profit organization that advocates for prison reform, filed suit against the Bureau of Prisons alleging the agency had failed to post a number of categories of records required to be made available electronically by the EFOIA Amendments.
    Issues: declaratory judgment requiring agency to make categories of records available electronically, attorney’s fees
  2. CENTER FOR COMPETITIVE POLITICS v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION (filed Jun 9, 2014)
    The Center for Competitive Politics submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Election Commission for the “First General Counsel’s Report,” a document prepared for the FEC commissioners as part of their consideration of whether Crossroads GPS had violated federal law by failing to register as a political action committee. A majority of commissioners decided not to pursue the charges. As part of their statement of reasons, the three majority commissioners indicated that the First General Counsel’s Report had not been made public because it was considered privileged. Instead, a Second General Counsel’s Report was made part of the public record. The agency responded to the Center’s FOIA request by withholding the First General Counsel’s Report entirely under Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). The Center appealed the denial and the agency indicated that the commission had been unable to reach a decision on the merits of the appeal. The Center then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, immediate disclosure of records, disclosure of record with redactions, attorney’s fees
  3. COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE et al v. UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (filed Jun 9, 2014)
    The Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted two FOIA requests to the National Security Agency for records of metadata for allegedly destroyed emails sent to and from anonymous email accounts maintained for current EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. The agency issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records for both requests. CEI appealed the denial of both requests, but after the agency failed to respond to the appeals, CEI filed suit.
    Issues: improper response, conduct adequate search, disclosure of records within 10 days or production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  4. GREEN v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Jun 9, 2014)
    Vance Green, a researcher and producer for a local cable news program, sent a FOIA request in 2012 to the Justice Department for all records concerning defendants who were arrested in response to the government’s Sept. 11, 2001 lookout bulletin. Green reminded the agency that he was renewing a request originally submitted in 2009. The agency informed Green that it had found 2606 pages of records as well as 14 CDs and would disclose them if Green paid $275 in estimated fees. Green told the agency that since it had missed the time limit for responding it could no longer charge fees. He also sent a request for expedited processing. Green also submitted similar FOIA requests to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense. After the agencies failed to provide records, Green filed suit.
    Issues: Green requested a number of items for relief. Highlights include disclosure of all records, waive all fees, order re-training of DOJ-FBI FOIA personnel, order agency to stop closing requests before 60 days, conduct thorough search, order re-training of FAA FOIA personnel
  5. MCCLARY et al v. USDA (filed Jun 10, 2014)
    Robin McClary submitted a FOIA request to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the Department of Agriculture for records concerning the killing of Canadian Geese in Virginia. Citizens for the Preservation of Wildlife made a request to APHIS for records concerning any public participation processes pertaining to the management of Canadian Geese in Virginia. Friends of Animals made a request for a 2013 decision finding no significant impact for mammal damage management in Wisconsin. The agency provided a partial response to McClary’s request and to the request from Friends of Animals, but had provided no response to the request submitted by Citizens for the Preservation of Wildlife. McClary and the two organizations filed suit against the agency.
    Issues: improper withholding, immediate disclosure of responsive records with no fees, attorney’s fees
  6. MUCKROCK, LLC v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Jun 10, 2014)
    MuckRock, an online news organization, submitted a request to the CIA for all information contained in its CADRE database pertaining to processing of FOIA, Privacy Act, and mandatory declassification reviews received during the first quarter of 2013. MuckRock explained that it was interested only in information about the processing of the requests and not records disclosed as a result of requests. MuckRock also asked for a fee waiver and inclusion in the news media fee category. The agency denied MuckRock’s fee waiver request and placed it in the all other category for fees. MuckRock appealed the denial of its fee waiver request, but the CIA has not acknowledged receipt of the appeal. MuckRock submitted another eight requests for similar information from the agency’s FOIA-processing database as well as the database for classification decisions. After the agency failed to respond to the requests, MuckRock filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all responsive records, disclosure in electronic formats requested, grant fee waivers, order MuckRock placed in news media fee category, prohibit agency from refusing to respond because of absence of specific information, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  7. WHITMORE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS (filed Jun 10, 2014)
    Torenda Whitmore, a federal prisoner convicted of kidnapping, submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records concerning the impact of a recent case on the ability of prisoners to submit habeas corpus petitions. The agency acknowledged her request and told her to submit identifying documents. Once she submitted the identifying information, the agency told her it would process her request, but after hearing nothing further, Whitmore filed suit.
    Issues: immediate disclosure of responsive records, production of Vaughn index
  8. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Jun 12, 2014)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management at the Department of Interior for records summarizing incidents of violence or threats against BLM employees in 2013. In a second FOIA request to BLM, PEER asked for records concerning the agency’s actions against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. After the agency failed to respond to either request within the statutory time limit, PEER filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, permanent injunction requiring disclosure of responsive records, attorney’s fees
  9. PAWELSKI v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al (filed Jun 12, 2014)
    John Pawelski, who is under federal indictment, submitted FOIA requests to the FBI, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the IRS, and the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for records about himself. He also requested expedited processing for each request. After none of the agencies responded to his request for expedited processing, Pawelski filed suit.
    Issues: processing of all responsive records, expedited processing, disclosure of all responsive records, attorney’s fees
  10. ADVANCED TESTING TECHNOLOGIES INC v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE (filed Jun 13, 2014)
    Advanced Testing Technologies submitted a FOIA request to Warner Robins Air Force Base for all visitor entries for Robert Buckley, as well as records pertaining to his meetings with Air Force personnel. The Air Force responded to the company’s request by withholding information about the meetings under Exemption 5. Advanced Testing Technologies appealed the denial of its request. It also submitted a new FOIA request renewing the first FOIA request and, alternatively, asking for a narrower subset of records if the agency continued to disagree with the company’s prior requests. The Air Force responded to the third request by indicating there was no responsive record. Advanced Testing Technologies appealed that denial as well, but after hearing nothing further, filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of previously redacted records, disclosure of all other responsive records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
Jun 12 14

FOIA Activity: 4 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 4 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 1, 2014 and June 7, 2014. These are associated with 4 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 2:2012cv02601Truthout v. Department of Justice
    • June 4, 2014: ORDER signed by Judge Lawrence K. Karlton on 6/3/14 DENYING [63] Motion for Reconsideration. (Meuleman, A)
  2. CAN 3:2014cv00994Plotz v. Drug Enforcement Administration
    • June 3, 2014: STIPULATION AND ORDER EXTENDING TIME FOR DEFENDANT TO ANSWER OR OTHERWISE RESPOND TO COMPLAINT re [17] STIPULATION WITH PROPOSED ORDER to Extend Time for Defendant to Answer or Otherwise Respond to Complaint filed by Drug Enforcement Administration. Signed by Judge Jon S. Tigar on June 3, 2014. (wsn, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/3/2014)
  3. CAN 4:2013cv02946Electronic Frontier Foundation v. Department of Justice
    • June 6, 2014: STIPULATION AND ORDER DISMISSING CASE, ***Civil Case Terminated. Signed by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton on 6/6/14. (nahS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/6/2014)
  4. MD 1:2013cv02353Moore v. United States of America
    • June 6, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge William D Quarles, Jr on 6/6/14. (c/m 6/6/14 jnls, Deputy Clerk)
Jun 12 14

62 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 62 documents from 10 FOIA cases filed between June 1, 2014 and June 7, 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. Gahagan v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (filed Jun 2, 2014)
    Michael Gahagan, an immigration attorney, made a request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the alien file of his client, Narinder Singh, who was subject to removal proceedings. After the agency failed to respond within the statutory time limit, Gahagan filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees, attorney’s fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act
  2. Paulin v. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (filed Jun 3, 2014)
    Dirk Paulin submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for records concerning the HOPE VI project to revitalize the St. Thomas housing development in New Orleans. The agency acknowledged receipt of his request and asked for clarification. However, after providing the clarification requested by the agency, Paulin heard nothing further from the agency and filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  3. The New York Times Company et al v. United States Department of Justice (filed Jun 3, 2014)
    New York Times reporter Charlie Savage submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for a number of specific documents concerning the government’s surveillance activities and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The National Security Division of the Justice Department acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the New York Times filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, conduct adequate search, disclosure of records within 20 days of court order, attorney’s fees
  4. AGILITY PUBLIC WAREHOUSING COMPANY K.S.C. v. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (filed Jun 4, 2014)
    Agility Public Warehousing Company, a Kuwaiti logistics company, had several Defense Department contracts to provide food to U.S. troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and Jordan from 2003 through 2010. Based on the revelations about the extent of surveillance by the National Security Agency, PWC submitted a FOIA request to the agency for any records pertaining to surveillance of their communications between 2003 through 2010. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after the time limit for responding expired, PWC wrote to the NSA appeals officer to appeal the failure to respond. The agency acknowledged receipt of PWC’s appeal, but took no further action. PWC then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of records, expeditious proceedings, attorney’s fees
  5. Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick, Ltd. v. Gibson (filed Jun 4, 2014)
    The law firm of Chisholm, Chisholm & Kirkpatrick submitted a request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for a client’s C-file pertaining to disability claims. After hearing nothing further concerning the request, the law firm filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further about the appeal, the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: immediate disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees, demand for jury trial if necessary
  6. CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jun 5, 2014)
    CREW submitted a request to the FBI, EOUSA, and the Criminal Division of the Justice Department for records concerning the investigation of Angelo Mozilo and Countrywide Financial for financial improprieties during the mortgage crisis, including the agency’s decision not to prosecute Mozilo. After none of the components responded to CREW’s request within the statutory limit, CREW filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, immediate disclosure of all responsive records, expeditious proceedings, attorney’s fees
  7. CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (filed Jun 5, 2014)
    The Center for Food Safety submitted a request to the Department of Agriculture for records concerning genetically-engineered oranges and all other genetically-engineered citrus fruits. The agency contacted CFS and suggested that it narrow the scope of the request. However, after some back and forth correspondence, the agency failed to provide records it had indicated it would disclose shortly and CFS filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, expeditious disclosure of responsive records, attorney’s fees
  8. BAUER v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY et al (filed Jun 6, 2014)
    Shane Bauer, one of three American students detained by Iran for improperly entering the country while hiking and later released, submitted FOIA requests to the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of State for records concerning the actions taken by the U.S. government in relation to the detention of the three students. Bauer indicated that he intended to write an article for Mother Jones based on the records he received. His requests to the CIA included Privacy Act waivers from the students and asked for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The CIA denied his request for expedited processing and a fee waiver and responded to his request by issuing a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records under Exemption 1 (national security) and Exemption 3 (other statutes). Bauer filed an administrative appeal to the CIA’s denial. Bauer’s requests to the FBI asked for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency denied his request for expedited processing and he appealed the denial to the Office of Information Policy. OIP upheld the FBI’s denial, but the FBI did not respond further to his request. Bauer’s requests to the State Department asked for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency granted his request for a fee waiver, but denied his request for expedited processing. The agency did not respond further to his request. Bauer then filed suit against all three agencies.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records on expedited basis, enjoin CIA from refusing to accept appeals of denials for expedited processing, attorney’s fees
  9. AGOLLI v. OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL (filed Jun 6, 2014)
    Anna Maria Agolli filed a complaint in 2006 concerning an incident at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in 2001. She made several follow-up FOIA requests to the Office of Inspector General. Dissatisfied with both the handling of her original complaint and her FOIA requests, Agolli submitted a request for records concerning her complaint to the Office of Information Policy. After hearing nothing further from OIP, Agolli filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, tolling of statute of limitations, minimum award of $1 million in punitive damages
  10. Altemus v. US Department of Veteran Affairs (filed Jun 6, 2014)
    William Altemus submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for records concerning a benefit claim. After the agency failed to respond, he filed an administrative appeal. The agency had not responded to his administrative appeal and Altemus filed suit. Although his suit is based on FOIA and contains a cause of action under FOIA, his complaint consists of a number of allegations against the VA that have nothing to do with FOIA.
    Issues: expedited processing, disclosure of records, costs, sanctions
Jun 3 14

FOIA Activity: 2 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 2 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between May 25, 2014 and May 31, 2014. These are associated with 2 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.