FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: HUD bitten by fee waiver lawsuit

FOIA News (2017)Allan BlutsteinComment

ASPCA Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Following Denial of Fee-Waived FOIA Request

ASPCA seeks documents related to HUD policies that hinder pet ownership in public housing

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), with the assistance of Holland & Knight LLP, today filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) claiming that the agency's denial of its request for a fee waiver in connection with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request concerning pet ownership restrictions in select public housing units is unlawful. 

In its original request, the ASPCA noted that the organization is entitled to receive these documents free of charge under FOIA's public interest provision because the documents would be used to educate the public about HUD policies that potentially prohibit pet ownership by thousands of tenants nationwide. The ASPCA's suit argues that nonprofit groups will be prevented from using FOIA effectively if government agencies demand thousands of dollars of fees to fulfill each request.

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