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75 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on April 8, 2014

We have added 68 documents from 11 FOIA cases filed between March 30, 2014 and April 5, 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. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT LEGAL INSTITUTE et al v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute submitted a FOIA request to EPA for copies of emails, text messages, or instant messages sent to or from the Office of Water containing certain words, including selenium. The Institute also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the Institute’s request for a fee waiver. The agency indicated it would not process the request further without a commitment to pay fees or unless the Institute narrowed the scope of its request. After discussions about narrowing the scope of the request, the agency indicated it would provide a fee estimate for the revised scope of the request. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Institute filed suit.
    Issues: !
    g>fee waiver, disclosure of non-exempt records, production of Vaughn index, attorney’s fees
  2. BAROUCH v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    David Jack Barouch submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for records concerning his criminal conviction. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Barouch filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, costs
  3. CAUSE OF ACTION v. US CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    Cause of Action submitted a FOIA request to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for records concerning its decision to recall Buckyballs and Buckycubes, small high-powered magnetic objects that can be placed in a variety of shapes and arrangements. Cause of Action also requested a fee waiver and placement in the news media fee category. CPSC acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Cause of Action filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all non-exempt records by date certain, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  4. GIANNONE v. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    Jonathan Giannone submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys for all records concerning his conviction for wire fraud. His request was sent during the government shutdown in October and after the government reopened, the Office of Information Policy contacted Giannone and indicated that his request had been referred to EOUSA. However, Giannone was unable to get any further response from EOUSA and filed suit.
    Issues: process plaintiff’s request, immediate disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  5. Abdul-Alim v. Comey et al (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    Ayyub Abdul-Alim submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for any investigatory records concerning himself. The FBI acknowledged receipt of the request, but indicated he was required to confirm his identity. After some further back and forth on the issue of identification, the agency finally accepted his request, but indicated it would take 418 days before a search for records would begin. Abdul-Alim then filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees
  6. Bickel & Brewer v. United States Department of Health And Human Services et al (filed Apr 1, 2014)
    The law firm of Bickel & Brewer, representing 3M, submitted a request to the National Institutes of Health for records concerning a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded study of the effects of perfluorochemicals on the immune systems of children in a North Atlantic fishing community. NIEHS indicated that it would withhold certain types of information unless the requester objected. The law firm objected to redaction of information about private sources of funding, as well as references to unpublished articles. The agency continued to take the position that such information was considered confidential. It also told the law firm that it never had custody of any raw data from the study. The law firm appealed to the Department of Health and H!
    uman Services, but after hearing nothing further, the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding under Exemption 4, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees
  7. Prison Legal News v. United States Department of Homeland Security et al (filed Apr 2, 2014)
    Prison Legal News submitted a FOIA request to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning inmate telephone services and related services at a detention facility in Washington. Prison Legal News requested a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Prison Legal News filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, adequacy of search, fee waiver, attorney’s fees
  8. ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE v. ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE (filed Apr 3, 2014)
    The Animal Welfare Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for records concerning APHIS-Wildlife Service activities in Arizona and New Mexico. APHIS acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, AWI filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all non-exempt records, attorney’s fees
  9. WRIGHT v. UNITED STATES DEPARMENT OF JUSTICE (filed Apr 3, 2014)
    Marty Lorenzo Wright submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys for records concerning any grants of immunity or non-prosecution of individuals as a result of their cooperation during Wright’s criminal prosecution. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Wright filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, attorney’s fee
  10. Chisholm Chishol & Kilpratrick, LTD v. Shinseki (filed Apr 3, 2014)
    The law firm of Chisholm Chisholm & Kirkpatrick submitted a request to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the C-file for one of its clients. The VA did not respond and the law firm filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees and costs
  11. Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. U.S. Geological Survey (filed Apr 4, 2014)
    The Alliance for the Wild Rockies submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Geological Survey for records concerning the Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear DNA Project. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after several attempts to contact the agency failed to produce results, the Alliance filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, disclosure of all records, attorney’s fees

In addition, we have added 7 documents from 2 cases, with earlier filing dates, that have recently appeared on PACER.

  • Patrick M Flinn v. United States of America, et al (filed Mar 28, 2014)
    Patrick Flinn was detained at the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigation Office in Los Angeles. He subsequently submitted FOIA requests to the agency for records concerning his detention. The agency told Flinn it was working on his requests, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of records, attorney fees and costs
  • EWELL v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CRIMINAL DIVISION et al (filed Mar 27, 2014)
    Eric Ewell, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Justice Department’s Criminal Division for records authorizing the wiretapping of his communications. The Criminal Division acknowledged receipt of the request and told Ewell that wiretap authorization records were protected by Exemption 3 (other statutes). Ewell filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy, but after hearing nothing further from OIP, Ewell filed suit.
    Issues: disclosure of all records, expedited proceedings, attorney’s fees and costs, award of monetary damages for improper withholding
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From → FOIA, PACER

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