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99 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on March 25, 2014

We have added 99 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between March 16, 2014 and March 22, 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. Al-Turki v. Department of Justice (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Homaidan Al-Turki, who had been convicted and imprisoned on various state charges, submitted a request to the FBI for any records about himself from 1999 to the present. The FBI denied Al-Turki’s request under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). Al-Turki appealed the decision to the Office of Information Policy. OIP affirmed the FBI’s denial under Exemption 7(A) and found parts of the records were exempt under Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques) as well. Al-Turki then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  2. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning any government communications pertaining to December 2013 guidance on hardship exemptions for consumers whose insurance policies have been cancelled. Although the agency acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s request, it did not respond within the statutory time limit and Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, production of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  3. CALDERON v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Pablo Calderon submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service for records concerning loan guarantees to cover loan defaults of banks in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia. He also requested a fee waiver. The agency asked Calderon to narrow the scope of his request to make it more manageable, which he did. The agency then denied his fee waiver request and gave him a fee estimate of $75,000. Calderon then asked the agency if it could disclose whatever records could be made available for $5,000. The agency treated this as a new request. The agency told him it would provide a three-page document for $350 and Calderon submitted an advance payment of $250. After being unable to get any more information about the status of his request from the agency, Ca!
    lderon filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, fee waiver, fee estimate, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  4. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 18, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning the security of the healthcare.gov website. After hearing nothing more before the expiration of the statutory time limit, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, production of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  5. WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER PUBLISHING COMPANY, LLC v. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Richard Pollock, an investigative reporter for the Washington Examiner, submitted a FOIA request to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerning recent renovations of its headquarters. The agency told Pollock it had located 257 pages and was withholding 254 pages in their entirety under Exemption 5 (privileges) and Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). Pollock filed an administrative appeal. The agency upheld its decision to withhold the 254 pages, but decided its initial search was inadequate and remanded the request for a further search. As a result of the second search, the agency located another 93 pages and withheld 81 pages entirely under Exemptions 5 and 6. Pollock appealed the second determination which was affirmed. He then filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, production of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  6. Matthews v. United States Customs and Border Protection (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Nigel Alfred Scott Matthews, a citizen of the United Kingdom, made a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a Form I-275, which indicates when a non-citizen withdraws an application to enter the United States, that was issued by a CBP agent at Port Huron, Michigan in October 2012. In July 2013, he requested a copy of the Form I-275 because he needed it for his work visa application at the U.S. Consulate in the United Kingdom. After hearing nothing more about his request, Matthews filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  7. ELLIS v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Michael Ellis filed suit against the IRS, claiming the tax system relies on the creation of falsified records that have an adverse affect on him. Although the complaint cites FOIA, his cause of action is under the Privacy Act.
    Issues: falsification of records, enjoin Commissioner from collecting taxes from Ellis
  8. Matthews v. United States Customs and Border Protection (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Nigel Alfred Scott Matthews, a citizen of the United Kingdom, made a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a Form I-275, which indicates when a non-citizen withdraws an application to enter the United States, that was issued by a CBP agent at Port Huron, Michigan in October 2012. In July 2013, he requested a copy of the Form I-275 because he needed it for his work visa application at the U.S. Consulate in the United Kingdom. After hearing nothing more about his request, Matthews filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees
  9. ELKINS v. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (filed Mar 20, 2014)
    David Elkins, a resident of Florida, made a FOIA request to the Federal Aviation Administration for records concerning an airplane he believed was conducting surveillance of him at his residence. To the extent it responded to his request, the FAA withheld some records on the basis of Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Elkins filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records, order FAA to discontinue its improper use of Exemption 7(E)
  10. FREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Freedom Watch submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for any leaked information pertaining to the Davis County, Colorado District Attorney’s Office. Freedom Watch requested a fee waiver and expedited processing. The CIA responded that it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of records. Freedom Watch filed an administrative appeal, but after hearing nothing from the agency, Freedom Watch filed suit.
    Issues: expedited search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, improper withholding, attorney’s fees and costs
  11. ROBINSON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Kevin Robinson submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Interior for records created or used by former agency employee Anthony M. Babauta from 2009-2012 concerning the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Robinson agreed to pay $100 and asked for a fee waiver for any costs above that amount. The agency assessed Robinson $400 in search fees, which he paid. The agency eventually released documents, but redacted 226 pages under Exemption 4 (confidential business information), Exemption 5 (privileges), Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), and Exemption 7 (law enforcement records). Robinson appealed, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  12. MCCLANAHAN et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Kelly McClanahan submitted several requests to the FBI for records concerning his involvement with several national security-related cases, including an investigation of his inadvertent possession of classified documents. The FBI denied his requests on the basis of Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation). He appealed the denial of both his requests to OIP, which upheld the FBI’s decision. McClanahan also submitted a request to Justice Management Division for records concerning how the investigation of his possession of classified information was conducted. McClanahan heard nothing further concerning this request. Cori Crider, an attorney for Reprieve in the United Kingdom, also submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning herself. The agency failed to respond furt!
    her. McClanahan and Crider then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all requested records, injunctive relief if necessary, attorney’s fees
  13. JOHNSON v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    Jessica Johnson works as an investigator for the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which represents death-sentence prisoner Odell Corley. Johnson had made requests to the FBI for records concerning Corley. In preparation for filing a FOIA suit against the FBI, Johnson requested a waiver of fees for filing her action since she works for a government-funded office.
    Issues: waiver of filing fee
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From → FOIA, PACER

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