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Mar 5 15

FOIA Activity: 6 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 6 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between February 22, 2015 and February 28, 2015. 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. CAC 2:2014cv01301Gary J LaPook v. United States of America et al
    • February 27, 2015: ORDER DISMISSING CASE by Judge S. James Otero, re Stipulation to Dismiss Case 22. Pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the separately filed stipulation of the parties, this action is dismissed with prejudice. Pursuant to the stipulation of the parties, defendant Department of State is ordered to pay costs to Plaintiff in the amount of $424.61. Case Terminated. Made JS-6. (shb)
  2. DC 1:2012cv01222COBAR v. US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • February 27, 2015: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on February 27, 2015. (AG)
  3. DC 1:2012cv01872PINSON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • February 23, 2015: MEMORANDUM OPINION granting in part and denying in part [55] Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 02/23/2015. (lcrc2)
  4. PAE 2:2013cv06462SAMAHON v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • February 27, 2015: MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE JOEL H. SLOMSKY ON 2/27/2015. 2/27/2015 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED. (ems)
    • February 27, 2015: MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION ORDER THAT DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 22) IS GRANTED ON COUNTS ONE, TWO, AND THREE OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. NO. 16). PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 24) IS DENIED ON C OUNTS ONE, TWO, AND THREE OF THE AMENDED COMPLAINT (DOC. NO. 16); ETC.. THE DEFENDANT IS ORDERED TO FILE THE ELWOOD MEMORANDUM UNDER SEAL FOR AN IN CAMERA INSPECTION WITHIN TWENTY DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS ORDER. SIGNED BY HONORABLE JOEL H. SLOMSKY ON 2/27/2015. 2/27/2015 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED. (ems)
  5. UT 1:2014cv00020Eames v. USA
    • February 27, 2015: MEMORANDUM DECISION AND DECISION denying [2] Motion for Ruling. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner on 2/27/15 (alt)
Mar 5 15

48 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 46 documents from 12 FOIA cases filed between February 22, 2015 and February 28, 2015. 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. Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (filed Feb 23, 2015)
    Alliance for Wild Rockies submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for records concerning the agency’s decision to delist the Yaak grizzly bear from the endangered species list. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Alliance for Wild Rockies filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. Hargrove v. US Treasury (filed Feb 24, 2015)
    Ceioe Hargrove filed suit against the Department of Treasury for information about his indebtedness.
    Issues: FOIA not mentioned
  3. UNITED POLICYHOLDERS v. FEMA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (filed Feb 25, 2015)
    United Policyholders submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records concerning the appeals process for the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA identified 2,647 NFIP appeals responsive to UP’s request. The agency eventually began processing the request, but after receiving no substantive response, UP filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  4. HALL AND ASSOCIATES v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Feb 25, 2015)
    Hall & Associates submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning the issuance of a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit for the City of Taunton, MA. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Hall & Associates filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further pertaining to its appeal, Hall & Associates filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Feb 26, 2015)
    EPIC submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning Future Attributes Security Technology. EPIC also requested inclusion in the news media fee category and for a waiver of any duplication fees. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. EPIC was asked to clarify the time frame, which it did. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EPIC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Fee Category – Media or Educational, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  6. Miskowiec, et al. v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (filed Feb 26, 2015)
    Michael Miskowiec, an attorney representing Calvin Ridgeway and Leo Howard Dubose, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the claim files for Ridgeway and Dubose. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Miskowiec filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. Trucept, Inc. v. United States Internal Revenue Service (filed Feb 27, 2015)
    Trucept, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the IRS. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Trucept filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  8. Smart-Tek Services, Inc. v. United States Internal Revenue Service (filed Feb 27, 2015)
    Smart-Tek Services, which is owned and operated by Trucept, Inc., submitted a FOIA request to the IRS. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing from the agency, Smart-Tek Services filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  9. Smart-Tek Service Solutions Corp. v. United States Internal Revenue Service (filed Feb 27, 2015)
    Smart-Tek Service Solutions Corp., described in the complaint as a defunct corporation, submitted a FOIA request to the IRS. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Smart-Tek Service Solutions Corp. filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  10. Smart-Tek Automated Services Inc. v. United States Internal Revenue Service (filed Feb 27, 2015)
    Smart-Tek Automated Services, Inc. submitted a FOIA request to the IRS. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Smart-Tek Automated Services filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  11. Bedgood v. Mabus et al (filed Feb 27, 2015)
    Andre Bedgood, an employee of Naval Criminal Investigation Services in San Diego, was sent a letter of intent to revoke his security clearance. He submitted a FOIA request for records concerning the issuance of the letter of intent. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told Bedgood it would take 8-12 weeks to respond. Because Bedgood’s deadline for responding to the letter of intent was March 2, 2015, Bedgood filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  12. American Marine, LLC v. United States Internal Revenue Service (filed Feb 27, 2015)
    American Marine, LLC submitted a FOIA request to the IRS. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, American Marine filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index

In addition, we have added 2 documents from 1 case, with an earlier filing date, that has recently appeared on PACER.

  • Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (filed Feb 20, 2015)
    The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted a FOIA request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for records concerning communications between NOAA and outside entities pertaining to federal or state regulation of shark fin sales, possession and trading. NRDC also requested a fee waiver. NOAA acknowledged receipt of the request and granted NRDC’s request for a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, NRDC filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
Feb 27 15

Now Featuring Case Summaries & Issue Annotations

by Greg Munno
Harry Hammitt has joined the FOIA Project team

Harry Hammitt has joined the FOIA Project team

The results of an extensive new effort by the FOIA Project to annotate Freedom of Information Act lawsuits are beginning to show up on FOIAproject.org.

Harry Hammitt, a widely recognized expert on FOIA and the publisher of Access Reports, has joined the FOIA Project team. He has begun to tag cases by the specific issues involved and to add case and opinion summaries to the Project’s comprehensive collection of every court case in which a federal agency has been sued under FOIA since Oct. 1, 1996. That’s more than 27,000 court documents from more than 8,500 federal district and circuit FOIA court cases.

read more…

Feb 26 15

FOIA Activity: 13 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 13 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between February 15, 2015 and February 21, 2015. These are associated with 13 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

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

  1. CAE 1:2013cv01979Bryson v. Gerson et al
    • February 19, 2015: FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS To Dismiss Action Without Prejudice For Failure To Obey A Court Order And Failure To Prosecute (ECF No. 14 and 15). Matter is referred to Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill; Fourteen Day Objection Deadline, signed by Magistrate Judge Michael J. Seng on 2/19/2015(Yu, L)
  2. CAN 3:2006cv00185Pickard v. Department of Justice
    • February 19, 2015: ORDER ON SUFFICIENCY OF VAUGHN INDEX Re: Dkt. Nos. [207] 208. Signed by Judge Nathanael Cousins on 2/19/2015. (lmh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/19/2015)
  3. CAN 3:2012cv03728American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • February 17, 2015: ORDER RE: IN CAMERA REVIEW [43] , [47] , [56] (Illston, Susan) (Filed on 2/17/2015) Modified on 2/18/2015 (ysS, COURT STAFF).
  4. CAN 3:2012cv04008American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California et al v. Department of Justice
    • February 17, 2015: ORDER CONTINUING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE re [73] Joint Case Management Statement filed by Department of Justice. Signed by Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James on 2/17/2015. (rmm2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/17/2015)
  5. CAN 3:2014cv02168American Small Business League v. United States Department of the Army
    • February 18, 2015: Order by Hon. Vince Chhabria granting [30] Second Stipulation Regarding Briefing Schedule for Plaintiff's Petition re Attorney's Fees.(knm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/18/2015)
  6. DC 1:2012cv00667ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
    • February 20, 2015: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 2/20/2015.(lcckk3)
  7. DC 1:2013cv00556NATIONAL SECURITY COUNSELORS et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • February 18, 2015: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 2/18/15. (lctsc3)
  8. DC 1:2013cv00836LIBERATION NEWSPAPER v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
    • February 19, 2015: MEMORANDUM OPINION regarding the defendant's [21] Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Beryl A. Howell on February 19, 2015. (lcbah2)
  9. DC 1:2013cv01203RICHARDSON v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    • February 19, 2015: MEMORANDUM OPINION re [21] defendant's motion for summary judgment, [26] plaintiff's motion for a continuance, [27] plaintiff's motion for discovery, and [28] plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on February 19, 2015. (AG)
  10. ILS 3:2014cv00908Henson v. Department of Health and Human Services et al
    • February 18, 2015: ORDER STRIKING [43] Requests to Admit filed by J. Donald Henson, Sr., DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE [44] MOTION to Compel filed by J. Donald Henson, Sr., DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE [45] MOTION to Void Aggregation Determination filed by J. Donald Henso n, Sr., DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE [46] MOTION to Compel filed by J. Donald Henson, Sr., GRANTING [49] Emergency MOTION for Protective Order to Stay Discovery filed by Sarah Kotler, Food & Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Federick J. Sadler. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment due by 3/30/2015. Signed by Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson on 2/18/15. (sgp)THIS TEXT ENTRY IS AN ORDER OF THE COURT. NO FURTHER DOCUMENTATION WILL BE MAILED.
  11. MOW 6:2013cv03380Marks v. United States Department of Justice
    • February 19, 2015: ORDER AND OPINION ENTERING JUDGMENT IN PLAINTIFF'S FAVOR. Signed on 2/19/15 by District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. (Order mailed to Plaintiff.) (Matthes, Renea)
  12. NYS 1:2014cv01002Florez v. Central Intelligence Agency
    • February 19, 2015: OPINION & ORDER #105262 re: [13] CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Sergio Florez, [10] MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Central Intelligence Agency. As set forth above, the Court finds that the CIA' s Gloma r response was justified by FOIA Exemptions 1 and 3. Defendant's motion for summary judgment is therefore granted and plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment is denied. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Sidney H. Stein on 2/19/2015) (ama) Modified on 2/20/2015 (ca).
  13. PAM 4:2014cv00854HINTON v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al
    • February 20, 2015: MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry).Signed by Honorable Matthew W. Brann on 2/20/15. (km) (Main Document 32 replaced on 2/20/2015) (km).
Feb 26 15

31 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 26 documents from 5 FOIA cases filed between February 15, 2015 and February 21, 2015. 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. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (filed Feb 18, 2015)
    The Energy & Environmental Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Energy for records concerning communications pertaining to EPA’s greenhouse gas standards. The Legal Institute also requested a fee waiver. After DOE failed to respond to the request, the Legal Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  2. FRIENDS OF ANIMALS v. BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (filed Feb 18, 2015)
    Friends of Animals submitted two FOIA requests to the Bureau of Land Management. The first request pertained to BLM’s Wild Horse Adoption Program. The second request pertained to the use of any contraceptive administered to wild horses. Friends of Animals also requested a fee waiver for both requests. After the agency failed to respond to either request, Friends of Animals filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  3. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Feb 18, 2015)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning the destruction of damaged hard drives by IRS employees since 2010. The agency responded that it could find no responsive records because it was unable to search its records based on the subject topic. Judicial Watch appealed and the IRS upheld its decision. Judicial Watch then filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  4. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY v. UNITED STATES CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (filed Feb 19, 2015)
    Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate synthetic tire products as “children’s products.” The agency declined to do so. PEER then submitted a FOIA request to the CPSC for records concerning what CPSC had done on the issue of crumb rubber playgrounds, playmats, or sports fields. PEER received confirmation that its FAX and email transmission of the request was successful, but after hearing nothing from the agency, PEER filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. Dolores Street Community Services et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Feb 20, 2015)
    Dolores Street Community Services and several other public interest organizations submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Worksite Enforcement Strategy. Seventeen months later, ICE responded to parts of the request, withholding records under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Dolores Street filed an administrative appeal. The agency then provided a final response to the request and Dolores Street appealed that decision as well. ICE denied the appeal and Dolores Street filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 6 – Invasion of privacy, Exemption 7(C) – Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records, Exemption 7(E) – Investigative methods or techniques, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – In camera review, Litigation – Vaughn index

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

  • SMITH v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Feb 13, 2015)
    Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research, Middle Eastern Policy, submitted a request in 2010 to the CIA for declassification of all cross-referenced CIA files related to uranium diversion from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation to Israel. The CIA responded to Smith’s request is 2013 indicating that it found nothing in the materials that could be declassified. Smith filed an administrative appeal, which the agency denied. Smith then filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 1 – Harm to national security, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  • Zamora v. U.S. Commodities Futures and Exchange Commission (filed Feb 4, 2015)
    Daniel Zamora submitted a FOIA request to the Commodities Futures Exchange Commission for records concerning Fit International Group Corp. After hearing nothing from the agency, Zamora filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
Feb 19 15

FOIA Activity: 11 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 11 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between February 1, 2015 and February 7, 2015. These are associated with 10 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 3:2011cv00846The Sierra Club et al v. United States Environmental Protection Agency
    • February 5, 2015: ORDER by Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James granting [114] Stipulation re Settlement Agreement and Release. (rmm2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/5/2015)
  2. CAN 3:2012cv03728American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • February 2, 2015: ***ERRONEOUS ATTACHMETN*** ORDER, Motions terminated: [60] STIPULATION WITH PROPOSED ORDER re: Continuance of CMC filed by San Francisco Bay Guardian, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. Further Case Management Conference set for 3/13/2015 03:00 PM in Courtroom 10, 19th Floor, San Francisco.. Signed by Judge Susan Illston on 2/2/15. (tfS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/2/2015) Modified on 2/2/2015 (ysS, COURT STAFF).
    • February 3, 2015: ORDER re [60] : Further Case Management Conference set for 3/13/2015 03:00 PM in Courtroom 10, 19th Floor, San Francisco.. Signed by Judge Susan Illston on 2/2/15. (tfS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/3/2015) Modified on 2/4/2015 (ysS, COURT STAFF).
  3. CAN 3:2013cv03127American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California v. Department of Justice
    • February 3, 2015: ORDER rescheduling hearing re: cross-motions for summary judgment [35] & [36] for 3/5/2015 10:00 AM before Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James; Joint Statement and related documents due by 2/17/2015. Signed by Judge Maria-Elena James on 2/3/2015. (mejlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/3/2015)
  4. CAN 3:2014cv02168American Small Business League v. United States Department of the Army
    • February 4, 2015: Order as Modified by Hon. Vince Chhabria granting [28] Stipulation Regarding Briefing Schedule for Plaintiff's Petition re Attorney's Fees.(knm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/4/2015)
  5. DC 1:2013cv00595SHAPIRO v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • February 2, 2015: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on February 2, 2015. (lcrmc3)
  6. DC 1:2013cv01508RACHUY v. DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al
    • February 6, 2015: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2/5/15. (ms, )
  7. ILN 1:2012cv05358National Immigrant Justice Center v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al
    • February 1, 2015: For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court grants plaintiff's motion for summary judgment [dkt. nos. 60 & 66] and denies defendants' motion for summary judgment [dkt. nos. 59 & 76]. Counsel are directed to confer and prepare a draft form of judgment consistent with this decision and are to submit it to the Court by no later than February 6, 2015. (mk)
  8. INN 1:2014cv00269Tunnell v. U.S. Department of Defense
    • February 4, 2015: OPINION AND ORDER DENYING [4] MOTION for Clerks Entry of Default as to U.S. Department of Defense filed by Harry Tunnell. Signed by Judge Jon E DeGuilio on 2/4/2015. (lns)
  9. NYN 7:2013cv00917Ivey v. U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys
    • February 6, 2015: MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER granting [33] Motion for Summary Judgment: The Court hereby ORDERS that Defendant's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED; and the Court further ORDERS that the Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in Defendant's favor and close this case. Signed by U.S. District Judge Mae A. D'Agostino on 2/6/15. (ban)
  10. OR 6:2014cv00149Smith v. US Federal Aviation Administration
    • February 2, 2015: ORDER and FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION: Order denying Motion for Disclosure [29] and granting Motion for Leave to Respond [52] Findings & Recommendation: Motion for Summary Judgment [34] should be granted and Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [38] should be denied. Objections to the Findings and Recommendation are due by 2/20/2015. Signed on 2/2/2015 by Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Coffin. (plb)
Feb 19 15

FOIA Activity: 7 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 7 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between February 8, 2015 and February 15, 2015. These are associated with 7 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 2:2013cv04658Abraham John Pusa v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al
    • February 13, 2015: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: FAILURE TO OPPOSE by Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell.Plaintiff is ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE why Defendants motionshould not be granted. Plaintiffs response to this order to show cause must be filed no later than Friday, February 20, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. An appropriate response to this order will include reasons demonstrating good cause for Plaintiff's failure to file an opposition to Defendant's motion. (rfi)
  2. CAC 8:2014cv01758Hugo Benjamin Osorio v. United States Customs and Border Protection
    • February 10, 2015: ORDER DISMISSING CASE with prejudice by Judge David O. Carter, re Stipulation to Dismiss Case [12] Case Terminated. Made JS-6. (twdb)
  3. CAN 3:2013cv02789Public.Resource.org v. United States Internal Revenue Service
    • February 10, 2015: STIPULATION AND ORDER EXTENDING PLAINTIFF'S TIME TO MOVE TO RECOVER ATTORNEYS FEES AND COSTS re [64] STIPULATION. Plaintiff's deadline to file a motion to recover attorneys fees and costs shall be extended until March 16, 2015. Signed by Judge William H. Orrick on 02/10/2015. (jmdS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/10/2015)
  4. CAN 3:2013cv06017Carlson v. United States Postal Service
    • February 13, 2015: ORDER FOLLOWING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley on 2/12/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(ahm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/13/2015)
  5. DC 1:2011cv00374CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • February 11, 2015: MEMORANDUM OPINION re: Plaintiff's [59] MOTION for Attorney Fees and Costs. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 2/11/2015. (tcr)
  6. DC 1:2012cv01872PINSON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • February 10, 2015: MEMORANDUM OPINION granting in part and denying in part [66] Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 02/10/2015. (lcrc2)
  7. DC 1:2013cv01135BARTKO v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al
    • February 9, 2015: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION re [146] Order on Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 2/9/15. (lcjeb2)
Feb 19 15

138 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 117 documents from 14 FOIA cases filed between February 8, 2015 and February 14, 2015. 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. PARRETT v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY (filed Feb 9, 2015)
    Stephanie Parrett, a civilian employee at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, filed a sexual assault complaint against the deputy site manager. The Army conducted a “Commander’s Inquiry” into her complaint, which was completed in September 2013. Parrett requested a copy of the report. The Army disclosed the report, but redacted large portions of it under Exemption 5 (privileges) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). Parrett appealed the decision to the Office of the Judge Advocate General, but after the Judge Advocate General failed to respond to the appeal, Parrett filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency (filed Feb 9, 2015)
    The Southeastern Legal Foundation submitted FOIA requests to EPA for records concerning various policies and practices. The EPA ultimately responded to the requests, but withheld a number of records and refused SLF a fee waiver in several cases. SLF eventually filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Public Interest Fee Waiver
  3. American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties v. United States Department of Homeland Security (filed Feb 10, 2015)
    The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the ACLU of Southern California, and University of California, Irvine School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic professors Anne Lai and Sameer Ashar submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s “roving patrol” operations in the San Diego and El Centro Sectors. The requesters asked for expedited processing and a fee waiver. After hearing nothing from the agency, the plaintiffs filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Feb 10, 2015)
    EFF submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning “dirtboxes” and other international mobile subscriber identity catcher devices operated from planes. EFF also requested expedited processing. DOJ referred the request to the U.S. Marshals Service, which acknowledged receipt of the request. The FBI also acknowledged receipt of the request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EFF filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  5. American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties et al (filed Feb 11, 2015)
    The ACLU of Arizona and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning allegations of abuse and mistreatment of children while in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol. The ACLU requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. Homeland Security referred the request to CBP, ICE, OIG, and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. CRCL acknowledged receipt of the request, denied the ACLU’s request for expedited processing and a fee waiver, and invoked a 10-day extension for responding. OIG also acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the ACLU’s request for expedited processing and invoked a 10-day extension for responding. CRCL contacted the ACLU again to request a modification, but the ACLU declined to modify its request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the ACLU filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. BRITTIN v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Feb 11, 2015)
    Alexander Brittin submitted a FOIA request in 2011 to the Transportation Security Administration for records concerning any contracts with MCA Innovations Joint Venture related to the provision of workers compensation medical case management services or similar services. In 2013, the agency contacted Brittin and asked if he was still interested in the request. Brittin responded that he was still interested, but after being told the request was still under review, Brittin filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  7. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (filed Feb 11, 2015)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Defense for all communications to or from the Office of the Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff related to the release of a report prepared by Army Brig. Gen. Kenneth Dahl into the actions of Bowe Bergdahl that led to his capture by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and asked Judicial Watch to narrow its scope. Judicial Watch narrowed the scope of the request, but after hearing nothing from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  8. COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Feb 11, 2015)
    The Competitive Enterprise Institute submitted a FOIA request to EPA for copies of emails or text messages to or from anyone in the Office of General Counsel that mention EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and texting. The agency disclosed some emails, but denied access to hundreds of emails primarily under Exemption 5 (privileges) as well as Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). CEI appealed the EPA’s decision, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, CEI filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 5 – Privileges, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Segregability
  9. Stephen Yagman v. John Owen Brennan (filed Feb 12, 2015)
    Stephen Yagman submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for records concerning James Mitchell, John Jessen, or their company, Mitchell Jessen & Associates. The CIA failed to respond within the statutory time limit and Yagman filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  10. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE et al v. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (filed Feb 12, 2015)
    The Energy and Environmental Law Institute submitted a FOIA request to the SEC for email and text messages among named parties and correspondence either sent to or from certain SEC employees that contained six keywords. After reminding the agency of its statutory deadline and receiving no indication that its response was forthcoming, the Institute filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  11. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (filed Feb 12, 2015)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records concerning the selection of individuals for audits based on their organizations’ application for 501(c)((4) status. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, invoked a 10-day extension, and told Judicial Watch that it would not be able to respond within the statutory time limit. Judicial Watch sent another request to the agency for much the same records but expanded to the selection of organizations for audits. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, invoked a 10-day extension, and told Judicial Watch it would not be able to respond within the statutory deadline. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  12. WRIGHT v. ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (filed Feb 12, 2015)
    Chris Wright submitted a FOIA request to the Administration for Children and Families for records concerning an Office of Refugee Resettlement grant to BCFS HHS as well as records concerning BCFS’ lobbying expenditures. Wright had several exchanges with the agency pertaining to his request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Recovery of Costs
  13. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (filed Feb 13, 2015)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning an Inspector General’s report of a “hands off list,” that purportedly contained names of individuals who were allowed to enter the U.S. although they had been denied entry previously. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  14. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Feb 13, 2015)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning any consulting contracts between the agency and Jonathan Gruber. A month later, Judicial Watch submitted a second FOIA request to the agency for records concerning any communications between the agency and Gruber concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act. The agency acknowledged receipt of both requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index

In addition, we have added 21 documents from 6 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  1. CAVEZZA v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Feb 5, 2015)
    Jason Cavezza, a federal prisoner, submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State for records related to his conviction in Oregon. After EOUSA initially failed to respond in time, Cavezza appealed to OIP, which prompted EOUSA to release some records. Cavezza’s requests to DEA, U.S. Marshals Services, Homeland Security, and Interpol, were still unresolved when he filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  2. Peeler v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (filed Feb 4, 2015)
    Russell Peeler, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the wiretapping of his pager. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after it failed to respond within the statutory time limit, Peeler filed an administrative appeal with OIP. Having heard nothing further concerning a response, Peeler filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  3. Service Women's Action Network et al v. Defense (filed Feb 3, 2015)
    The Service Women’s Action Network, the ACLU , and the ACLU of Connecticut submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Defense for records concerning gender disparity at military service academies. Requests were sent to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. While the parties exchanged a series of emails, only the Naval Academy had disclosed any records by the time the plaintiffs filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  4. Lee v. Federal Bureau of Prisons (filed Feb 3, 2015)
    Sean Lee, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons for his central file. The agency responded with a cost estimate of $44 and told Lee he would have to commit to paying the fees before the agency would process his request. Lee agreed to pay the fees, but after further communication with the agency revealed that his request was still being processed, Lee filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
  5. BENJAMIN v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Feb 2, 2015)
    Richard Benjamin, a scholar researching the U.S. government’s role in the ouster of Haitian president Daniel Fignole in 1957, submitted a FOIA request to the National Archives for records contained in a specific document set that originated with the Department of State. NARA responded by telling Benjamin that the State Department had redacted portions of 12 pages under Exemption 1 (national security). Benjamin appealed the decision to the State Department, which upheld its decision. Benjamin then filed suit.
    Issues: Exemption 1 – Properly classified, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  6. Kaye v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (filed Jan 6, 2015)
    Allen Kaye, an attorney representing Santhosh Kumar, submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for records from three specific files pertaining to petitions for alien relatives. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Kaye filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit
Feb 5 15

FOIA Activity: 4 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 4 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between January 25, 2015 and January 31, 2015. 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 1:2013cv01979Bryson v. Gerson et al
    • January 28, 2015: ORDER to SHOW CAUSEE Why Action Should Not be Dismissed with Prejudice for Failure to Obey a Court Order and Failure to Prosecute,signed by Magistrate Judge Michael J. Seng on 1/28/2015. (14-Day Deadline) (Martin-Gill, S)
  2. CAN 3:2003cv04992Snyder v. Department of Defense et al
    • January 30, 2015: ORDER RE REPLY AS TO [157] MOTION to Compel. Replies due by 2/13/2015. Signed by Judge Vince Chhabria on 1/30/2015. (knm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/30/2015)
  3. CAN 3:2013cv02789Public.Resource.org v. United States Internal Revenue Service
    • January 29, 2015: ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT by Judge William H. Orrick denying [46] Motion for Summary Judgment; granting [47] Motion for Summary Judgment. the IRSs motion for summary judgment is DENIED and Public.Resource.orgs motion for summary judgment is GRANTED. The government shall produce the requested nine form 990s in the MeF format within sixty days of the date of this Order. (jmdS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/29/2015)
  4. OR 6:2014cv00048Fennerty v. Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers et al
    • January 26, 2015: ORDER: Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [25] ; Granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [14] This action is dismissed. Signed on 1/26/2014 by Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Coffin. (plb) Corrected date filed on 1/27/2015 (plb).
Feb 5 15

21 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 21 documents from 5 FOIA cases filed between January 25, 2015 and January 31, 2015. 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. LEOPOLD v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (filed Jan 25, 2015)
    Journalist Jason Leopold submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for any records referring to or prepared for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Leopold also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency granted his fee waiver, but denied his request for expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Leopold filed suit.
    Issues: Expedited processing, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees
  2. GOUDKOV v. U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (filed Jan 26, 2015)
    Konstantin Goudkov submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for his complete travel history. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Goudkov filed suit.
    Issues: Adequacy – Search, Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  3. Spearhead Roofing, LLC v. United States Department of Veterans Affairs (filed Jan 28, 2015)
    Spearhead Roofing was a subcontractor for improvements for a Department of Veterans Affairs project known as the RAMB Project at Eagle Point National Cemetery. Spearhead Roofing filed an action in the District Court for Southern California against the contractor, Kevcon, Inc, for recovery of payment. Spearhead Roofing submitted a FOIA request to the VA for records concerning Kevcon and Spearhead’s work on the Eagle Point project. After hearing nothing from the agency, Spearhead Roofing filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees, Litigation – Vaughn index
  4. Eames v. Administrative Committee of the Federal Register, The et al (filed Jan 28, 2015)
    Brady Eames submitted a FOIA request to the National Archives for records indicating the existence of a 2013 index for the Federal Register. The agency responded that such an index existed on its website and provided the location. Eames visited the website and was dissatisfied with the information available there. He appealed the agency’s decision, which was upheld. He eventually filed suit to force the Committee on the Federal Register to provide an online index.
    Issues: Withholding not related to exemption claims
  5. The Law Office of James Holmes, P.C. v. U.S. Department of Labor (filed Jan 30, 2015)
    The Law Office of James Holmes, representing the family of Roberto Magdaleno, who had been killed when an oilfield pressure vessel ruptured near Orla, Texas, submitted a FOIA request to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for records concerning the accident and its investigation. OSHA released 794 pages, but withheld a number of records under Exemption 4 (confidential business information), Exemption 5 (privileges), and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). Holmes appealed the agency’s decision, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Holmes filed suit.
    Issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation – Attorney’s fees