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Aug 28 14

50 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 50 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between August 17, 2014 and August 23, 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. CAUSE OF ACTION v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE et al (filed Aug 18, 2014)
    Cause of Action submitted FOIA requests to multiple cabinet agencies for records concerning any referrals to the White House by agencies pursuant to a 2009 memo from former White House General Counsel Greg Craig requiring agencies to consult the White House when records involved “White House equities.” When none of the agencies had yet responded months after the request was received, Cause of Action filed suit against all the agencies that had received the request.
    Issues: require agencies to make final determination, disclosure of responsive records within 30 days of court order, attorney’s fees
  2. Western Watersheds Project v. Moseley, et al. (filed Aug 18, 2014)
    Western Watersheds Project requested permission to inspect copies of Allotment Management Plans at the U.S. Forest Service office at Lincoln National Forest. The agency told the organization that there would be a fee to cover the hourly costs of a staff member to monitor their inspection of the records. Western Watersheds Project pointed out that agency FOIA regulations prohibited charging a fee for inspecting records and appealed the agency’s decision. The agency then closed their FOIA request. Western Watersheds Project filed suit.
    Issues: prohibit agency from charging fees for inspection, promptly make records available, attorney’s fees
  3. GOMEZ et al v. US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Aug 19, 2014)
    Patrick Lawrence Gomez, a retired officer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI jointly with Judicial Watch for records of threats or investigations of threats to Gomez and his family. Gomez also asked for his records under the Privacy Act. The agency denied the request, claiming the records were protected by Exemption 7(A) (ongoing investigation or proceeding). Gomez and Judicial Watch appealed the denial, which was upheld. They then filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  4. Henson v. Department of Health and Human Services et al (filed Aug 19, 2014)
    Donald Henson, a former FDA field investigator, made numerous requests to the FDA for records concerning an insulin pump manufactured by Meditronic MiniMed that Henson believed had serious deficiencies. After reviewing the agency’s public files on the device, Henson ended up with 17 FOIA requests for information concerning the pre-market approval application for the device. Although he had submitted the requests individually and considered them separate requests, the agency apparently aggregated many of them for appeals purposes. Henson eventually received 7,000 pages of a possible 178,000 pages. He requested help from the agency’s Public Liaison, but was unsatisfied with the response that his requests were still being processed. He then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, require agency to process requests individually by date of receipt, finding that Public Liaison acted improperly, improper aggregation of requests, production of Vaughn index within 30 days of court order
  5. RYAN v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al (filed Aug 20, 2014)
    Alireza Shishechi emigrated from Iran in 1976. He became a naturalized citizen and legally changed his name to Cina Ryan in 1986. Although he felt he was being watched, Ryan decided to visit his family in Iran in 2009 and bought a round-trip ticket from Miami to London to Tehran. When he arrived in London, he was detained and subsequently deported to the United States. Several years later, after failing to find an attorney willing to pursue his case, Ryan submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for his records. The agency said it could find no records and that it could neither confirm nor deny that he was on a government watch list. He appealed the denial to the Office of Information Policy, which upheld the FBI’s decision. Ryan then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of records
  6. MARTIN EDWARDS & ASSOCIATES, LLC v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Aug 21, 2014)
    Martin Edwards & Associates submitted a FOIA request to NIH for records concerning a contract to provide security services and information pertaining to allegations against the company. NIH acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the company appealed. After hearing nothing concerning its appeal, the company filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, attorney’s fees
  7. FREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY et al (filed Aug 21, 2014)
    Freedom Watch submitted a FOIA request to the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Defense Department for records concerning the shooting down of Extortion 17, resulting in the deaths of 30 U.S. soldiers. Freedom Watch also requested information pertaining to a congressional hearing on Feb. 27, 2014, particularly records concerning Larry Klayman, Chairman and General Counsel of Freedom Watch. After receiving nothing substantive from the agencies, Freedom Watch filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  8. v. American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties et al (filed Aug 22, 2014)
    The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial County submitted two FOIA requests to U.S. Customs and Border Protection through the FOIA Online portal. The first request was for statistics on the number of individuals removed because of expedited removal or voluntary return, the number of individuals referred because of asylum fraud or illegal entry, and the number of individuals referred to an asylum officer because of credible fear. The second request asked for legal memoranda, policy and guidelines regarding expedited removal and voluntary return. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the ACLU filed suit.
    Issues: grant expedited processing, conduct adequate search, waive or limit fees, prompt disclosure of records, attorney’s fees
  9. Tempest v. National Energy Technology Laboratory et al (filed Aug 22, 2014)
    Rone Tempest, a reporter for WyoFile.com, submitted a FOIA request to the National Energy Technology Laboratory for records related to the 2012 suspension of 2009 and 2010 federal stimulus grants made to the North American Power Group by NETL. The agency denied the request under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). Tempest appealed and the agency upheld its original decision. Tempest then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
Aug 28 14

FOIA Activity: 8 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 8 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between August 17, 2014 and August 23, 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. CAE 1:2013cv01122(PS) Leonard Brown v. U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration
    • August 21, 2014: Order extending time, signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 8/20/2014. (Defendants Responses due by 9/8/2014) (Figueroa, O)
  2. CAN 3:2011cv00846The Sierra Club et al v. United States Environmental Protection Agency
    • August 20, 2014: ORDER FOR PLAINTIFFS TO SUBMIT CHAMBERS COPIES re [80] Declaration in Support filed by The Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, [83] Declaration in Support filed by The Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, [77] MOTIO N for Attorney Fees and Costs filed by The Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, [81] Declaration in Support filed by The Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, [79] Declaration in Support filed by The Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, [82] Declaration in Support filed by The Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project, [78] Declaration in Support, filed by The Sierra Club, Environmental Integrity Project. Signed by Judge Maria-Elena James on 8/20/2014. (cdnS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/20/2014)
  3. DC 1:2008cv01252CLEMENTE v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF JUSTICE et al
    • August 18, 2014: ORDER granting in part and denying in part [105] Defendants' Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment and denying Plaintiff's motion to file a sur-reply [Dkt. No. 116]. Signed by Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein on 8/18/14. (Reed, Heather)
  4. DC 1:2008cv01439NORTH v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • August 19, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 8/19/2014. (lcckk3)
  5. DC 1:2012cv01755SACK v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • August 21, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION re: Defendant's [19] MOTION for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 8/21/2014. (tcr)
  6. DC 1:2013cv01239SIERRA CLUB v. UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
    • August 18, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION granting in part Defendants' [47] and Intervenor's [50] Motions to Partially Dismiss; granting Defendants' [70] and Intervenor's [71] Cross Motions for Summary Judgment; and denying Plaintiffs' [61] Motion for Summary Judgment, [83] Motion to Supplement and Amend First Amended Complaint, and [93] Unopposed Motion to Supplement and Amend First Amended Complaint. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 8/18/2014. (lckbj2)
  7. DC 1:2013cv01344JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • August 22, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Richard J. Leon on 08/21/14. (tb, )
  8. DC 1:2014cv00055COFIELD v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al
    • August 20, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION accompanying final order issued separately this day. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 8/20/14.(ah)
Aug 21 14

FOIA Activity: 3 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 3 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between August 10, 2014 and August 16, 2014. These are associated with 3 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 4:2011cv05221Electronic Frontier Foundation v. Department of Justice
    • August 11, 2014: ORDER by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers granting in part and denying in part [77] Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part [79] Motion for Summary Judgment. The parties are directed to submit a proposed form of judgment, approved as to form by both parties, forthwith. (fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/11/2014)
  2. DC 1:2012cv00316WHITAKER v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al
    • August 15, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on August 15, 2014. (lcckk1)
  3. LAE 2:2014cv01268Gahagan v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    • August 14, 2014: ORDER & REASONS: denying [8] Motion for Summary Judgment; FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's complaint in this matter is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Carl Barbier on 8/14/14. (sek)
Aug 21 14

28 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 24 documents from 4 FOIA cases filed between August 10, 2014 and August 16, 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. Allison v. United States Marshall Service (filed Aug 11, 2014)
    James Allison submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for a local police report pertaining to his case. The agency told him the report was sealed by the U.S. District Court in Idaho. However, according to Allison, the court said it was not in possession of the document. Allison then filed suit against the Marshals Service.
    Issues: disclosure of records
  2. Martinez v. U.S. State Department (filed Aug 11, 2014)
    Avelino Cruz Martinez, a naturalized U.S. citizen detained for extradition to Mexico on criminal charges, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for all records from the U.S. Consulate in Mexico pertaining to Martinez and all records pertaining to Mexico’s request to extradite Martinez. He also requested expedited processing. The agency denied his request for expedited processing, which he appealed. The agency upheld its denial. When Martinez asked how long it would take to process his request, he was given an estimated completion date of June 2015. He then filed suit.
    Issues: order agency to make determination within 20 days, prompt disclosure of records, expedited proceedings
  3. GORDON v. COURTER et al (filed Aug 13, 2014)
    Juan Gordon, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Criminal Division of the Justice Department for records pertaining to the authorization for wiretaps of his phone. The Criminal Division acknowledged receipt of his request and told him that any responsive records would be exempt. He then appealed the Criminal Division’s denial, which was upheld by the Office of Information Policy. Gordon then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees, sanctions for illegal wiretap
  4. ELIAS YUNES v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Aug 15, 2014)
    Edmon Felipe Elias Yunes submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records regarding alleged criminal activities that took place in Santo Domingo that led to the revocation of his visa. State acknowledged receipt of his request, but he heard nothing further from the agency. Yunes also submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records pertaining to his alleged criminal/terrorist activity. The FBI acknowledged receipt of the request, but Yunes heard nothing further from the agency. Yunes then filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of all responsive records, attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 4 documents from 1 case, with an earlier filing date, that has recently appeared on PACER.

  • CAMPBELL v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CRIMINAL DIVISION et al (filed Aug 8, 2014)
    Eric Campbell, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice for records concerning the authorization to wiretap his phone. The Criminal Division told him that any responsive records would be exempt. Campbell appealed the Criminal Division’s decision to the Office of Information Policy. When OIP failed to respond, Campbell filed suit.
Aug 20 14

Case Spotlight: Seeking Metadata from the NSA

by Greg Munno
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (left) in 2013 as she is sworn in by Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, while former Administrator Carol Browner holds the Bible.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy (left) in 2013 as she is sworn in by Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, while former Administrator Carol Browner holds the Bible.

Three nonprofit organizations are suing the National Security Agency in an attempt to get it to release the metadata associated with records they say were inappropriately destroyed by another agency.

They believe the NSA has the records because of revelations in 2013 that the agency was collecting the data associated with millions of Verizon email and text messaging accounts.

The complainants – the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Energy & Environment Legal Institute and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic – filed suit on June 8 after the NSA issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of the records.

One of the complainants, CEI, originally sought email and text messages directly from the Environmental Protection Agency that were sent and received from Verizon accounts EPA provided to Administrator Gina McCarthy, as well as the private Verizon account of her predecessor, Lisa Jackson. The EPA at first denied CEI’s fee-waiver request, which became the subject of another FOIA lawsuit, and later said that the emails had been destroyed because the messages sent from the accounts were personal. But the lawsuit contends that the accounts were used to correspond with EPA staff and lobbying interests such as the Sierra Club and Siemens Corp., making the correspondence subject to FOIA.

The lawsuit against the EPA and the subsequent suit against the NSA are among the more than 5,000 that can be found using the FOIA Project’s free Case Search tool.

read more…

Aug 15 14

Case Spotlight: Journalist detained in Iran wants to know what U.S. did to free him

by Greg Munno

 

Bauer_350pxlsShane Bauer, one of three Americans detained in 2009 by Iran when they unknowingly crossed into the country while hiking, filed suit against the CIA, Department of Justice and Department of State on June 6.

Bauer, who was released with his friends in 2011, is seeking records pertaining to the government’s actions in trying to free him and his two colleagues.

Bauer’s complaint — culled from more than 5,000 cases you can access for free using the FOIA Project’s  Case Search tool — states that his initial FOIA requests to these agencies, as well as the subsequent appeals, were either denied or ignored.

His original FOIA requests included Privacy Act waivers from the other students involved.

The complaint outlines how each agency was involved in Bauer’s case. For instance, it states that “the Department of State was highly involved in the case. [The students'] families traveled to Washington, DC, on numerous occasions to meet with State officials, including Secretary Clinton. They also maintained regular contact with State throughout their detention. State was in discussion with Oman and Iraq, and possibly Turkey, Senegal, Venezuela, and other countries in efforts to secure our release. Sean Penn was in discussion with DOS at some point regarding his intention to ask President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to petition for our release.”

read more…

Aug 14 14

FOIA Activity: 4 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 4 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between July 27, 2014 and August 9, 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. DC 1:2012cv02014JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
    • August 1, 2014: MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein on 8/1/14. (lcbjr4)
  2. NYS 1:2013cv00942Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. United States Department of Interior et al
    • August 5, 2014: OPINION & ORDER #104587 re: [32] FIRST MOTION for Discovery In the Alternative Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d) filed by Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., [11] MOTION for Summary Judgment. [22] CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment fi led by United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management. As to FOIA Exemptions 4 and 9, NRDC's motion for summary judgment is granted, and the Government's motion for summary judgment is denied. As to FOIA Exemption 5, NRDC's motion for summary judgment is denied in its entirety, and the Government's motion for summary judgment is granted in part, and as further set forth in this document. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to terminate all pending motions. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 8/6/2014) (cd) Modified on 8/11/2014 (ca).
  3. OHS 1:2013cv00651Howard v. Railroad Retirement Board
    • August 5, 2014: OPINION AND ORDER denying [44] Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate Opinion and Order for Judgment [41] and Dismissal For Fraud. Signed by Judge S Arthur Spiegel on 8/5/2014. (km1) (Additional attachment(s) added on 8/5/2014: # 1 Certified Mail Receipt) (km1).
  4. WAE 2:2013cv03067Community Association for Restoration of the Environment Inc v. United States Environmental Protection Agency
    • August 6, 2014: ORDER RE: MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT. Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment ECF No. [34] is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. Plaintiffs Cross Motion for Partial Summary Judgment ECF No. [39] is DENIED. The parties are directed to submit a dditional briefing, if desired, on the availability of relief under the Administrative Procedure Act. Cross Motions for Summary Judgment shall be filed by both parties on or before 10/6/2014. Responsive briefing will proceed in accordance with Local Rule 7.1. Signed by Judge Thomas O. Rice. (LLH, Courtroom Deputy)
Aug 14 14

31 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 28 documents from 6 FOIA cases filed between August 3, 2014 and August 9, 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. McNeely v. Department of Energy et al (filed Aug 4, 2014)
    Martha McNeely submitted a FOIA request for records concerning possible radiation exposure by employees at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, including her father. She sought her medical records as a child when she was at Hanford. Both Oak Ridge Operations Office and the Hanford Environmental Health Foundation told her they could find no records. The current medical records provider at Hanford told McNeely that she had been subject to multiple studies. While Oak Ridge referred her to public documents, she was unable to get the kind of records she was seeking. She appealed alleging the agency’s search was inadequate. The Office of Hearings and Appeals denied her appeal indicating that the search she wanted would be too burdensome. McNeely then filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of all responsive records, production of Vaughn index by date certain, expeditious proceedings, attorney’s fees
  2. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE et al v. TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY (filed Aug 4, 2014)
    The Energy & Environmental Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Tennessee Valley Authority for emails to or from several officials at the agency that referred to either Climate Action Plan or Gallatin Fossil Plant or the Sierra Club from September 2013 to March 2014. The Institute also requested a fee waiver. The agency responded by indicating that it would take a 10-day extension in processing the request. After hearing nothing more before the expiration of the statutory dead line, the Institute filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, attorney’s fees
  3. Immigrant Defense Project et al v. United States Immigration and Costoms Enforcement et al (filed Aug 5, 2014)
    The Immigrant Defense Project, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama submitted a request to the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning home-based immigration enforcement operations and their impact on local communities. The organizations also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acknowledged receipt of the request, but did not address the request for expedited processing or a fee waiver. The organizations appealed both issues and the agency eventually granted the fee waiver, but denied expedited processing. The organizations again appealed the denial of expedited processing, but, aside from the agency’s indication that it was working on their request, they heard nothing further from ICE. The Department of Homeland Security also acknowledged receipt of the request. The Coast Guard denied the organizations’ request for expedited processing and a fee waiver, concluding that they were moot since records had already been sent to the requesters. The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center disclosed 26 pages of responsive records. DHS indicated that ICE would be responding separately. The organizations appealed the DHS decision, which was upheld. The organizations then filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, immediate disclosure of all records, require agency to expedite processing of request, enjoin agency from assessing fees, disclosure of all non-exempt records within 10 days of court order, attorney’s fees
  4. ATTKISSON v. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Aug 8, 2014)
    Journalist Sharyl Attkisson submitted four requests to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning healthcare.gov. The agency acknowledged receipt of her request, but failed to provide tracking numbers for each request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Attkisson filed suit.
    Issues: conduct adequate search, disclosure of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  5. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE et al v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Aug 8, 2014)
    The Energy & Environmental Legal Institute submitted two FOIA requests to the EPA. The first request was for electronic records sent to former Senior Policy Counsel Robert Sussman related to the HQ-Dimock group. The Institute also requested a fee waiver. The agency responded by denying the fee waiver, but indicating that there would likely be no costs associated with the request. The second request was for electronic records to or from Administrator Gina McCarthy or her assistants that were to or from Francesca Grifo and referred to scientific integrity. The Institute also requested a fee waiver, which was initially denied. However, the agency granted the fee waiver after the Institute appealed. After hearing nothing further from the agency pertaining to either request, the Institute filed suit.
    Issues: prohibit agency from charging fees, grant fee waiver, improper withholding, disclosure of non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  6. DE PACO v. UNITED STATES CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (filed Aug 8, 2014)
    After six years of participation in the program, U.S. Customs and Border Protecton revoked Cesar Manuel Cardoso Matos De Paco’s membership in the Global Entry Entrusted Traveler program. De Paco appealed the agency’s decision, which was upheld. He then submitted a FOIA request for all records in his CBP file. After hearing nothing further from the agency, De Paco filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, immediate disclosure of records, attorney’s fees

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

  • Correa Coss v. United States Department of Justice et al (filed Aug 1, 2014)
    Adolfo Correa Coss, a former lawful permanent resident alien was convicted of drug charges. He learned the name of a confidential informant who had testified against him. He submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for a page in the confidential informant’s notebook containing Coss’s name and indicated that the whole page could be redacted except for his name. The request was denied by EOUSA for failure to show a compelling public interest. Coss appealed to OIP. He also filed an action to compel disclosure because the confidential informant was scheduled to be released from prison and removed from the United States. The agency told him it was closing his case for failure to pay a fee. He appealed and paid the fee. His request was then assigned a new number. Coss then filed suit.
Aug 7 14

49 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by foiaproj

We have added 49 documents from 8 FOIA cases filed between July 27, 2014 and August 2, 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. ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT et al v. US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Jul 28, 2014)
    The Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club submitted a FOIA request to EPA seeking technical data relied on by the agency to develop Steam Electric Power Generating Categories for its proposed rule on effluent limitations. EPA responded the same day, but told the organizations that it was withholding key data sets because they constituted confidential business information. The organizations appealed the denial, but because the confidentiality of the data was still being determined, the agency dismissed the appeal as moot. EPA subsequently told the organizations that it would take at least seven months to rule on the confidentiality of the data. The organizations then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records at no cost, attorney’s fees
  2. Ryan Watje v. Department of The Navy et al (filed Jul 29, 2014)
    Ryan Watje submitted a FOIA request to the Commanding General of the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune for records concerning his administrative discharge from the Marine Corps and the periodic evaluations of his performance while in the Marines. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told Watje is had been forwarded to Marine headquarters. After hearing nothing further concerning his request, Watje filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records within 20 days of court order, enjoin agency from charging fees because of missed deadline, attorney’s fees
  3. Kimberg v. Jeh Johnson, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Jul 29, 2014)
    Terrence Kimberg, a permanent resident alien, requested his alien file from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The agency acknowledged receipt of his request, but told him he had to provide verification of identity. Kimberg’s attorney told USCIS that such verification was unnecessary in his case. The agency then closed Kimberg’s request for failure to provide verification of identity. Kimberg then made a later identical request, which was also rejected for lack of verification of identity. Kimberg appealed and the agency upheld its original decision. Kimberg then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, conduct adequate search, disclosure of records, attorney’s fees
  4. SANTOS v. JOHNSON et al (filed Jul 31, 2014)
    Jose Bladimir Santoyo Santos submitted FOIA requests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for his alien file. He sent verification information to ICE and CBP, but heard nothing further from those agencies. Instead, USCIS told him he had failed to provide verification of identity and closed his request. Santos appealed the closing of his request and the agency upheld its decision. Santos then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, conduct prompt search, disclose responsive records, attorney’s fees
  5. Cow Palace LLC et al v. United States Environmental Protection Agency et al (filed Jul 31, 2014)
    The EPA and a number of dairy farms entered a consent order concerning nitrate levels in groundwater. The dairies voluntarily provided information to the agency for its investigation. The Community Association for Restoration of the Environment submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning its communications with the dairy farmers. After receiving some records, CARE eventually filed suit. The EPA made a final determination concerning the records it would release to CARE. The records allegedly contained confidential business information provided by the dairies. The dairies then filed suit to block disclosure.
    Issues: preliminary injunction prohibiting disclosure of records without full trial, permanent injunction prohibiting agency from disclosing records after full trial, arbitrary and capricious behavior, find records not subject to FOIA
  6. ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (filed Aug 1, 2014)
    EPIC submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for all Privacy Impact Assessments conducted by the agency but not made public and all Privacy Threshold Analysis documents and Initial Privacy Assessments conducted by the agency since 2007. EPIC requested inclusion in the media fee category and a fee waiver. After hearing nothing from the agency, EPIC filed suit.
    Issues: prompt disclosure of responsive records, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  7. Lopez v. Saunders et al (filed Aug 1, 2014)
    Helen Lopez filed suit against Joan Parks Saunders, the Regional Chief Administrative Judge for the Social Security Administration, to prevent the agency from moving the cases of her clients in Albuquerque to Tulsa. This does not appear to be a FOIA case.
    Issues: order cases returned to Albuquerque with full and fair hearings, order rehearing for cases heard by judges not familiar with alleged statistical discrepancy, attorney’s fees
  8. Correa Coss v. United States Department of Justice et al (filed Jul 31, 2014)
    Adolfo Correa Coss, a former lawful permanent resident alien was convicted of drug charges. He learned the name of a confidential informant who had testified against him. He submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for a page in the confidential informant’s notebook containing Coss’s name and indicated that the whole page could be redacted except for his name. The request was denied by EOUSA for failure to show a compelling public interest. Coss appealed to OIP. He also filed an action to compel disclosure because the confidential informant was scheduled to be released from prison and removed from the United States. The agency told him it was closing his case for failure to pay a fee. He appealed and paid the fee. His request was then assigned a new number. Coss then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, in camera review, attorney’s fees
Jul 31 14

FOIA Activity: 3 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by foiaproj

We have added 3 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between July 20, 2014 and July 26, 2014. These are associated with 3 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 4:2011cv05221Electronic Frontier Foundation v. Department of Justice
    • July 24, 2014: SECOND ORDER RE: PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS FOR IN CAMERA REVIEW. Signed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on 7/24/14. (fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/24/2014)
  2. DC 1:2003cv02545MORLEY v. UNITED STATES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
    • July 23, 2014: MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Richard J. Leon on 07/23/14. (tb, )
  3. MD 1:2013cv01878Orly Taitz v. Colvin
    • July 25, 2014: MEMORANDUM re: [43] Motion to Reopen Case; Motion for recusal; Motion to transfer case; Second Motion for reconsideration filed by Orly Taitz. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 7/25/2014. (jf2, Deputy Clerk)