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100 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on April 1, 2014

We have added 95 documents from 12 FOIA cases filed between March 23, 2014 and March 29, 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. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY (filed Mar 24, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Treasury for records concerning the delay of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after the expiration of the statutory time limit for responding, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  2. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning the award of the Louis E. Peters Memorial Award to Mohammed Elibiary on September 8, 2011. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  3. CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF SERVICES, ALSO DBA CONSUMERS’ CHECKBOOK v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES et al (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    Consumers’ Checkbook submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning benefit designs for healthcare insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act exchanges for 2014 and asked for expedited processing. The agency granted Consumers’ Checkbook’s request for expedited processing. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency in the subsequent four months, Consumers’ Checkbook filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, expeditious proceedings, enjoin agency from withholding similar information for future plan years, retain jurisdiction over agency for disclosure of future plan years, attorney’s fees! li>
  4. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE et al v. FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute made a FOIA request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for records concerning an alleged attempt by a former Commission chairman to reclassify one of his political employees as a career employee and asked for a fee waiver. The agency located 36 emails but withheld them all under Exemption 5 (privileges). The Legal Institute appealed the agency’s denial, which was upheld. The Legal Institute then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  5. Cuautli Flores et al v. Johnson et al (filed Mar 25, 2014)
    Teodulo Cuautli Flores and his wife, Maria Eugenia Ramos Cortes, both Mexican citizens with valid Mexican passports, were detained when they tried to enter the United States at El Paso. Both were then ordered to be removed from the United States and prohibited from returning for a period of five years. Both Flores and Cortes submitted FOIA requests to Customs and Border Protection for records about themselves. After hearing nothing from the agency, Flores and Cortes filed suit.
    Issues: process FOIA requests, adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records, grant fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  6. Doe 1 v. US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (filed Mar 26, 2014)
    John Doe, a police officer in New Hampshire, and several other police officers were shot and injured as a result of actions taken by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. They filed suit in state court. They submitted a FOIA request to BATF for records concerning the shooting incident. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Doe filed an administrative appeal. At that time, the agency indicated that the records were subject to Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding), but the agency would conduct a further search. After hearing nothing more, Doe filed suit.
    Issues: expedited proceedings, disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  7. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning testing of software for insurance transactions through healthcare.gov. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  8. JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning contracts awarded to private entities to provide navigators to assist individuals with the healthcare.gov website. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further, Judicial Watch filed suit.
    Issues: adequacy of search, disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  9. THE C-123 VETERANS ASSOCIATION et al v. US DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    C-123 Veterans Association submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Veterans Affairs concerning its policies on secondary exposure to Agent Orange. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing, the Association submitted an administrative appeal. The agency indicated that it had searched its records but found nothing responsive to the request. Believing that VA had misinterpreted its request, the Association filed another appeal, but finally filed suit.
    Issues: expedited proceedings, improper withholding, adequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records, grant fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  10. THE C-123 VETERANS ASSOCIATION et al v. DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    C-123 Veterans Association submitted a FOIA request to the Department of the Air Force for records concerning its decision on the Association’s members’ exposure to Agent Orange in a “Consultative Letter.” The Association also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the Association’s request for a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further, the Association submitted an administrative appeal. The agency indicated it would take longer to respond to the request, but the Association finally filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  11. Zehntner et al v. United States Forest Service et al (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Zehntner Brothers, a property holding company, submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Forest Service for records concerning the location of a county road that the State of Montana claimed was within the boundaries of property owned by the Zehntner Brothers. The Zehntner Brothers also believed the Forest Service had influenced the State’s suit. The agency classified the Zehntner Brothers as commercial requesters. After narrowing the request, the agency provided three CDs containing 2200 pages and charged the Zehntner Brothers $3,796 in fees. The Zehntner Brothers contended that at least 410 pages were duplicates and that the records did not include two Forest Service documents submitted by the State in its lawsuit. The Zehntner Brothers filed an administrative appeal and the agency uphe!
    ld its decision seven months later. Zehntner Brothers then filed suit.
    Issues: find requester was not a commercial requester, refund fees paid, conduct adequate search, find agency action was arbitrary and capricious, produce all non-exempt records by date certain, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  12. AMERICAN WATER OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE, INC. v. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ENERGY (filed Mar 28, 2014)
    In response to a request submitted by the law firm Vinson & Elkins, the Defense Logistics Agency notified American Water Operations and Maintenance that it had received a request for information submitted by the company in a contract under the Utility Privatization program. The company objected to disclosure of its pricing information, but the agency found that the information did not qualify as confidential and decided to disclose it. American Water Operations and Maintenance then filed suit to block disclosure of the alleged proprietary information.
    Issues: enjoin disclosure of information, trade secrets, confidential business information

In addition, we have added 5 documents from 2 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  • Coleman v. Drug Enforcement Administration et al (filed Mar 21, 2014)
    John Coleman submitted a FOIA request to the Drug Enforcement Administration for records concerning Cardinal Health, Inc., a wholesale drug distributor subject to DEA regulation. Coleman also requested a fee waiver. DEA acknowledged receipt of the request and informed Coleman that he was considered a commercial requester for fee assessment purposes. Coleman submitted an administrative appeal to the Office of Information Policy challenging both the delay in responding and the agency’s decision to place him in the commercial requester category. OIP remanded the case to DEA, which placed Coleman in the all others fee category and told him it would begin to process his request. However, after hearing nothing further, Coleman filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, gra! nt fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  • Lamatina v. United States Customs and Border Protection (filed Mar 19, 2014)
    Jairo Carvalho Lamatina submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for a copy of his Customs and Border Protection Entry and Exit records. After CPB failed to respond within the statutory time limits, Lamatina filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
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From → FOIA, PACER

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