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September 2019 FOIA Litigation with Five-Year Monthly Trends

by FOIA Project Staff on October 17th, 2019

During the month of September 2019 federal district courts saw a total of 75 new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits filed under 5 U.S.C. 552. To place this number in perspective, 75 new filings compares with a monthly average of 70 filings during the last 12 months. This month’s total brought overall FOIA filings on an annual basis for these last 12 months to 845.

The figure below provides a more detailed view of monthly trends during the past five years. The height of each bar reflects the number of filings in that month. To see the actual filing count mouse over any bar. The superimposed line over the bars is the moving 12-month average. It is computed by adding up the 12 months ending at a given month, and then dividing that total by 12 to obtain the monthly average over this period. Mousing over any bar also shows the calculated result for this moving average for that given month.

Locating additional details on these cases: The FOIA Project compiles summaries of each of these cases written by Harry Hammitt for into a weekly blog posting. These typically are posted every Thursday. For recent postings see:

* October 10, 2019: AMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE and 29 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions.

* October 3, 2019: BIRD v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE and 13 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions.

* September 26, 2019: Friends of the Earth v. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and 22 other new FOIA lawsuits.

* September 24, 2019: MULANGU et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY and 26 other new FOIA lawsuits.

* September 12, 2019: American Oversight v. U.S. Department of Justice et al and 13 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions.

Documents in each case, including the complaint that was filed and the court’s docket sheet, are available elsewhere on They can be found by using the “Search Lawsuits” tool under the “FOIA Lawsuits” menu. Earlier reports in this “Latest Trends” series can be viewed by using the “Latest Trends” menu item under the “FOIA Lawsuits” menu.

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