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17 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on December 10, 2013

We have added 17 documents from 6 FOIA cases filed between December 1, 2013 and December 7, 2013. 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. Harman et al v. Internal Revenue Service (filed Dec 2, 2013)
    The IRS conducted an examination of the Harmans tax returns. The Harmans requested a copy of the agencys records concerning their tax examination. The agency indicated it had located 3,200 pages and withheld about 2,000 pages under Exemption 3 (other statutes), Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). The Harmans filed an administrative appeal and the agency upheld its initial decision. The Harmans then filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, improper withholding, segregability, attorneys fees, sanctions
  2. Bishop et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security (filed Dec 4, 2013)
    Bishop and Christopher Chivers, reporters for the New York Times, made requests to the agency for records about themselves and provided Privacy Act waivers. The agency told Chivers it could not search for records about him because it did not maintain a central database of individuals. Homeland Security referred Chivers request to the Transportation Security Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. No further action was taken on Chivers request. Bishops request was also transferred to TSA and ICE. ICE indicated it found no records. On appeal, the agencys response was upheld. TSA indicated the request was too broad. Bishop provided further information about having been interviewed by TSA employees at JFK Airport in June 2013. There was no further response from TSA. Bishop and Chivers then filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, improper withholding, attorneys fees
  3. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. v. United States Food and Drug Administration (filed Dec 4, 2013)
    NRDC requested FDA disclose 34 pages of the Review and Evaluation of Pharmacology and Toxicology Data for Colgate Total toothpaste, which contains triclosan, since the data had been redacted from the publicly available new drug application appearing on the agencys website. NRDC also requested a public interest fee waiver. FDA made a preliminary determination, disclosing a redacted version of the pages. The agency withheld information about the titles of studies under Exemption 4 (confidential business information). NRDC objected to the agencys preliminary determination, but the agency had taken no further action before NRDC filed suit. Issues: improper withholding, fee waiver, attorneys fees
  4. Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment et al v. Federal Housing Finance Agency (filed Dec 5, 2013)
    The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment requested information pertaining to the use of eminent domain to purchase mortgages. The Alliance asked for expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but took no further action. The Alliance then filed suit.
    Issues: expedited processing, improper withholding, attorneys fees
  5. Munksjo Paper Inc. v. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (filed Dec 5, 2013)
    Munksjo Paper requested records concerning the agencys initial determination of liability against the company. After Munksjo paid fees for processing the request, the agency indicated that it found 5,000 pages, but withheld more than 4,000 pages. Munksjo filed an administrative appeal of the agencys decision and submitted a second FOIA request for further records concerning the agencys determination that Munksjo was liable and asked for expedited processing. While the agency released more documents, it continued to withhold more than 4,200 pages. The company then filed suit.
    Issues: production of Vaughn index, disclosure of non-exempt records, attorneys fees
  6. Kuzma v. Central Intelligence Agency (filed Dec 6, 2013)
    Michael Kuzma requested all records about himself from the CIA. The agency responded by indicating that it found no records. Kuzma appealed the agencys decision and the agency denied his appeal. Kuzma then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of non-exempt records, expedited proceedings, attorneys fees


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