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47 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on February 11, 2014

We have added 36 documents from 7 FOIA cases filed between February 2, 2014 and February 8, 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. LEOPOLD v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Feb 4, 2014)
    Jason Leopold, a reporter, submitted a request to the Department of Justice for any communications between the agency and members of Congress or members of the Obama administration concerning the legal rationale for lethal drone strikes. He also asked for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged his request and granted him expedited processing. The agency also sent him a White Paper prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel concerning the legality of lethal drone strikes. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Leopold filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of non-exempt records, fee waiver, attorneys fees
  2. O’BRIEN v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Feb 4, 2014)
    Alexia OBrien, an investigative journalist, submitted 18 separate requests concerning Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, who served as the investigative officer for the investigation of Bradley Manning. OBrien heard nothing further from the agency and filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, attorneys fees
  3. St-Hilaire v. United States Department of State (filed Feb 4, 2014)
    Mareus St. Hilaire made a request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for an application St. Hilaire submitted in Haiti for a tourist visa. ICE responded that the tourist visa application would be in the custody of the State Department. St. Hilaire then made a request for his tourist visa application to the State Department. State asked him to provide verification of his identity, which he did. Although State indicated it was processing his request, St. Hilaire heard nothing more from the agency and filed suit.
    Issues: order agency to immediately process request, disclosure of all records, attorneys fees
  4. Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association – West Inc et al v. Fish & Wildlife Service (filed Feb 4, 2014)
    Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West made a request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for any records the agency had concerning two specific U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit application numbers. The agency provided some records but withheld others under Exemption 5 (privileges). The Association appealed the denial. The Department of Interior ultimately upheld the agencys Exemption 5 claims but also found the agency had failed to conduct an adequate segregability review. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Association filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorneys fees
  5. Sierra Club v. United States Army Corps of Engineers et al (filed Feb 5, 2014)
    The Sierra Club submitted three requests to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for preconstruction notifications submitted by TransCanada for the Keystone Pipeline project. The agency denied the Sierra Clubs request, citing Exemption 5 (deliberative process privilege). The Sierra Club appealed the decision but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Sierra Club filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of non-exempt records, arbitrary and capricious behavior under Administrative Procedure Act, attorneys fees
  6. Klein v. U.S. Strategic Command (filed Feb 6, 2014)
    Mark Klein, a free-lance writer and blogger, requested 30-year-old orbital position data for a particular satellite from the U.S. Strategic Command. The agency denied the request under Exemption 1 (national security). Klein appealed the denial and the agency upheld the denial on appeal. Klein then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, expedited proceedings, attorneys fees
  7. Lambkin v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs et al (filed Feb 7, 2014)
    Glen Lambkin, a retired Army officer, was seen by Dr. Shear at a VA clinic near his home in Florida. According to Lambkin, Shear was not familiar with his medical history and made an incorrect entry that became part of Lambkins medical records. Lambkin submitted a request under the Privacy Act to have the allegedly incorrect information expunged from his medical records. His request was denied and affirmed on appeal. Lambkin then filed suit. Although he brought the suit under FOIA, the only remedy he cites is under the Privacy Act.
    Issues: expungement of full report, expungement of specific paragraphs in report

In addition, we have added 11 documents from 3 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  1. Gilbert v. Social Security Administration et al (filed Jan 31, 2014)
    Michelle Gilbert filed suit alleging the Social Security Administration improperly disclosed her sons Social Security records to her parents. This in not a FOIA case but, instead, states a claim under the Privacy Act.
    Issues: improper disclosure
  2. Detention Watch Network et al v. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement et al (filed Jan 30, 2014)
    Detention Watch Network submitted a request to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning a policy known as the Detention Bed Quota. Detention Watch Network requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency indicated that it would need extra time to process the request, but would do so as expeditiously as possible. Another letter indicated that Detention Watch Network had not described the records it sought with enough specificity for the agency to conduct a search and that if DWN did not respond within 10 days its request would be administratively closed. DWN responded to ICEs query, which the agency characterized as an appeal. Although the agency later said the subsequent letter from DWN was not an appeal, DWN hear!
    d nothing further from the agency and filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, expedited search, expedited processing, enjoin agency from assessing fees, disclosure of non-exempt records, attorneys fees
  3. De Sousa v. Federal Emergency Management Agency (filed Jan 30, 2014)
    Gregory DeSousa made a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for records related to all SAFER grant applications from the City of Yonkers Fire Department. The agency acknowledged receipt of DeSousas request, but after the agency failed to respond to two subsequent letters from DeSousas attorneys, DeSousa filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all non-exempt records, production of Vaughn index, attorneys fees
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