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May 2021 FOIA Litigation with Five-Year Monthly Trends

by FOIA Project Staff on June 15th, 2021

During the month of May 2021 federal district courts saw a total of 63 new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits filed under 5 U.S.C. 552. To place this number in perspective, 63 new filings compares with a monthly average of 59 filings during the last 12 months. This month’s total brought overall FOIA filings on an annual basis for these last 12 months to 710.

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:

* May 27, 2021: PALMER BIEZUP & HENDERSON LLP v. U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits.

* May 19, 2021: American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts et al v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, plus case descriptions.

* May 14, 2021: CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY v. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION and 22 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions.

* May 6, 2021: CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY v. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH and 18 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions.

* April 29, 2021: FOIA Activity: 54 new FOIA court documents, 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.

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