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73 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on March 18, 2014

We have added 49 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between March 9, 2014 and March 15, 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. SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER v. UNITED STATES NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (filed Mar 10, 2014)
    Speaking Truth to Power submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration for records concerning nuclear events referred to as Broken Arrow incidents. The NNSA acknowledged receipt of the request, denied Speaking Truth to Powers request for expedited processing, and deferred action on the organizations fee waiver request until total costs were determined. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Speaking Truth to Power filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, grant fee waiver, attorneys fees
  2. SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER v. UNITED STATES AIR FORCE GLOBAL STRIKE COMMAND (filed Mar 10, 2014)
    Speaking Truth to Power submitted a FOIA request to the 341st Missile Wing Plans and Program Office at Malmstrom AFB for records of an exercise to recover nuclear weapons that was referred to in an article posted on the Malmstrom AFB website. Malmstrom AFB initially responded by indicating that Speaking Truth to Power was required to commit to paying fees before it would begin to process the request. However, in a second letter, Malstrom AFB indicated that it had conducted a search and found no records. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Speaking Truth to Power filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, grant fee waiver, attorneys fees
  3. KENNEDY v. EEOC (filed Mar 11, 2014)
    Joseph Kennedy submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for records concerning the Commissions denial of his employment discrimination complaint. The agency responded by disclosing some records, but Kennedy was dissatisfied and filed an administrative appeal. The EEOC responded to Kennedy’s appeal, indicating that deliberative material was redacted under Exemption 5 (privileges). Kennedy was still dissatisfied with the completeness of the records and filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, require agency to explain its deliberative process privilege claim
  4. Satisfied Mind LLC v. Shinseki et al (filed Mar 11, 2014)
    Satisfied Mind LLC, a service company that requests veterans claims files on behalf of law firms representing veterans, submitted a number of FOIA requests to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the claims files of veterans who had provided privacy waivers consenting to disclosure. However, Veterans Affairs did not provide records for any of the veterans and Satisfied Mind filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, discovery on issue of agencys inability to process claims requests, attorneys fees
  5. CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY v. ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE (filed Mar 12, 2014)
    The Center for Food Safety submitted a FOIA request to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concerning its decision to deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa, a genetically-engineered product. APHIS acknowledged receipt of the Centers request and subsequently asked for an extension to process the request. While its request was pending, CFS filed a complaint in the Northern District of California challenging the agencys decision to deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa. The district court ruled in favor of the government, a decision that was upheld on appeal to the Ninth Circuit. APHIS completed its response to CFSs FOIA request nearly a year and a half after it was filed. The agency identified 3699 responsive records. The agency withheld 1179 records entirely under Exemption 5 (privileges) and disclosed 2520 records on a USB drive. CFS filed an administrative appeal, but despite numerous attempts to determine the status of its appeal, CFS finally decided to file suit.
    Issues: failure to respond to administrative appeal, disclosure of all records, attorneys fees
  6. SAI v. TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (filed Mar 13, 2014)
    Sai submitted a FOIA/PA request to the Transportation Safety Administration concerning an incident involving Sai and TSA personnel that took place at Bostons Logan Airport. Sai subsequently submitted another FOIA request pertaining to an incident involving Sai at the San Francisco Airport. Sai submitted three more requests for various policy documents. The requests asked for expedited processing and that Sai be placed in the news media category for fee purposes. The agency indicated that video taken at the airports was protected under Exemption 3 (other statutes) as sensitive security information, and that the requests were too broad. Sai finally filed suit.
    Issues: failure to respond, declare requests reasonably described records, grant of news media status and public interest fee waiver, arbitrary and capricious behavior, disclosure of all records, Privacy Act damages, attorneys fees, pattern and practice of improper withholding of records
  7. Americans for Immigrant Justice v. United States Customs and Border Protection et al (filed Mar 13, 2014)
    Americans for Immigrant Justice submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning its policies for short-term detention. AI Justice also requested a fee waiver. After hearing nothing from the agency, AI Justice filed an appeal of its constructive denial. Hearing nothing further from the agency, AI Justice filed suit.
    Issues: immediate disclosure of all records, adequacy of search, grant fee waiver, attorneys fees
  8. KNIGHT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al (filed Mar 13, 2014)
    Niche Knight was struck by a vehicle driven by Alfredo DeJesus Flores, an undocumented worker, which resulted in the amputation of both of Knights legs. Knight filed a civil suit against Flores, who was temporarily incarcerated in the county jail and then removed to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In order to contact Flores for purposes of the civil suit, Knight asked ICE to provide his alien number and current address. ICE denied the request under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). Knight appealed the agencys decision, but the agency upheld its denial, indicating that it would not disclose information about Flores without his consent. Knight then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorneys fees
  9. Martinez v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (filed Mar 13, 2014)
    Avelino Cruz Martinez, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was detained to be extradited to Mexico on criminal charges. He made a FOIA request to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for his immigration file. USCIS provided Martinez with most of his immigration file, but withheld five pages under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Martinez filed an administrative appeal which was denied by the agency. He then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of records, expedited proceedings

In addition, we have added 24 documents from 1 case, with an earlier filing date, that has recently appeared on PACER.

  • Geltner v. United States Department of the Treasury et al (filed Mar 6, 2014)
    Michael Geltner submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Treasury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for copies of various service contracts. Treasury referred his request to the IRS for processing. The FDIC responded to Geltner, withholding information under Exemption 5 (privileges). Geltner was unsatisfied with the FDIC’s response and appealed its decision. In response to Geltner’s appeal, the FDIC indicated that it was claiming not only Exemption 5, but also Exemption 4 (confidential business information) and Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). None of the other agencies responded to Geltner’s requests and he finally filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records within 10 days of court order, attorney’s fees
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From → FOIA, PACER

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