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Aug 24 17

FOIA Activity: 10 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 10 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between August 13, 2017 and August 19, 2017. 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. AZ 2:2015cv00247American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties et al
    • August 14, 2017: ORDER granting in part and denying in part [56] Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment and [62] Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment. Granting each party leave to re-file abbreviated and non-duplicative motions for summary judgment as set forth in this Order, if necessary. See Order for details. Signed by Judge John J Tuchi on 8/14/17.(DXD)
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Aug 17 17

STATE OF CALIFORNIA v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY and 19 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 129 documents from 20 FOIA cases filed between August 6, 2017 and August 12, 2017. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. STATE OF CALIFORNIA v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Aug 11, 2017)
    The State of California submitted FOIA requests to the EPA for records concerning the process the agency has taken to ensure that Administrator Scott Pruitt is in compliance with federal ethics regulations and obligations and the agency’s policies and procedures for determining who (if anyone) can assume the powers of the Administrator if Pruitt is disqualified from participating in a matter read more…
Aug 17 17

FOIA Activity: 8 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 8 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between August 6, 2017 and August 12, 2017. These are associated with 8 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

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

  1. CAN 3:2016cv06066American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project et al v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    • August 9, 2017: ORDER granting Joint Motion for settlement. Case terminated. Signed by Judge Jacqueline Corley on 8/9/17. (tfS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/9/2017)
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Aug 10 17

KILMER v. U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION and 7 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 51 documents from 8 FOIA cases filed between July 30, 2017 and August 5, 2017. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. KILMER v. U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (filed Aug 2, 2017)
    Paul Kilmer submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning whether individuals planning to attend the Women’s March in Washington on January 21, 2017 from Canada were denied entrance to the United States. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Kilmer filed suit read more…
Aug 10 17

FOIA Activity: 9 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 9 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between July 30, 2017 and August 5, 2017. These are associated with 9 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

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

  1. CAN 3:2017cv00949Animal Legal Defense Fund et al v. United States Department of Agriculture et al
    • August 1, 2017: ORDER granting [33] STIPULATION. Case Management Conference continued to 9/12/2017 02:00 PM in Courtroom 2, 17th Floor, San Francisco. Case Management Statement due by 9/5/2017. Signed by Judge William H. Orrick on 08/01/2017. (jmdS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/1/2017)
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Aug 4 17

Collier v. Federal Communications Commission and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 107 documents from 15 FOIA cases filed between July 23, 2017 and July 29, 2017. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. Collier v. Federal Communications Commission (filed Jul 26, 2017)
    Kevin Collier, an investigative journalist, submitted two FOIA requests to the Federal Communications Commission for records concerning the crash of its website after John Oliver urged viewers to comment in favor of net neutrality. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and granted Collier expedited processing read more…
Aug 4 17

FOIA Activity: 11 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 11 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between July 23, 2017 and July 29, 2017. 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. AZ 2:2016cv02925Oliveira v. Jewell et al
    • July 26, 2017: ORDER granting [15] Motion to Dismiss FTCA Claims. (See Order for details.) Signed by Judge Douglas L Rayes on 7/26/2017. (MMO)
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Jul 28 17

FOIA Activity: 10 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 10 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between July 16, 2017 and July 22, 2017. These are associated with 9 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

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

  1. CAS 3:2015cv00453Smart-Tek Automated Services Inc. v. United States Internal Revenue Service
    • July 20, 2017: ORDER Granting in part and Denying in part Without Prejudice Defendant's [26] Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz on 7/20/2017. (mxn)
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Jul 27 17

CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 102 documents from 14 FOIA cases filed between July 16, 2017 and July 22, 2017. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Jul 18, 2017)
    Cause of Action Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s directive for agencies to treat all records sent to his Committee on Financial Services as congressional records rather than agency records. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Cause of Action Institute filed suit read more…
Jul 26 17

Dramatic Rise in FOIA Lawsuits Filed by Nonprofit Advocacy Groups

by FOIA Project Staff

The number of FOIA lawsuits filed by nonprofit and advocacy organizations has generally grown over the past two decades, irrespective of which political party was in office — from the George W. Bush administration, through President Obama’s eight years, and continuing during Donald Trump’s first months as president. These findings emerge from a detailed study of court records by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a data research center at Syracuse University.

Nonprofit groups representing all shades of the political spectrum have contributed to this rise, and their activity has increased regardless of changes in various administrations’ FOIA policies.

To give some perspective on these trends, in FY 2001, the first year of the Bush administration, nonprofit/advocacy organizations filed 47 cases challenging federal agencies’ FOIA practices. These cases made up one out of every seven (14.2%) federal FOIA suits filed that year. Ten years later the annual number of suits filed by this sector surpassed 100 individual cases. By June 2015, this sector’s 12-month running total had topped 150, and in April of 2017 nonprofit and advocacy organizations’ FOIA filings topped 200 for the first time.

As shown below in Figure 1, these filings are continuing to climb[1]. This sector now accounts for four out of every ten FOIA lawsuits now being filed — more suits than those filed by any other single class of FOIA filer[2].

requests_changeFigure 1. Federal FOIA Lawsuits filed by Nonprofit and Advocacy Organizations (totals covering one year period ending in month shown)

As the FOIA Project reported in its January and May 2017 reports, reporters and news organizations have also recently brought an increasing number of federal FOIA lawsuits. However, the pattern of their increase differed from that documented for the nonprofit and advocacy sector. Nonprofit and advocacy organizations’ lawsuits increased during both the Bush and Obama administrations. In comparison, the number of media suits changed very little during most of this period. Only in the last few years have news media FOIA lawsuits jumped[3].
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