FOIA Advisor

Court Opinions (2019)

Court opinions issued Apr. 18-19, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Apr. 19, 2019

Natural Res. Def. Council v. EPA (D.D.C.) -- finding that: (1) plaintiff had Article III standing to challenge EPA’s policy or practice of threatening to deem FOIA requests as “voluntarily withdrawn” when: (a) the agency concludes on an initial review that the request does not “reasonably describe” the records sought and so notifies the requester, and (b) the requester fails to contact the EPA within ten days regarding the asserted deficiency in the request; and (2) neither party had sufficiently explained whether plaintiff had statutory standing or could obtain injunctive or similar relief.

Apr. 18, 2019

Kriemelmeyer v. U.S. Dept. of State (W.D. Wis.) -- concluding that: (1) DOJ’s National Security Division performed adequate search for Foreign Agent Registration records and was under no obligation to inform plaintiff that he could have searched pubic database for same records; (2) Department of State properly denied plaintiff’s request for records pertaining to his passport application because plaintiff failed to certify his identity in accordance with agency regulations.

Summaries of all published opinions issued since April 2015 are available here.

Court opinion issued Apr. 17, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Elec. Frontier Found. v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- ruling that: (1) FBI improperly relied on Exemption 7(E) in refusing to confirm or deny existence of records concerning agency’s use, training, and recruitment of informants at computer repair facilities; (2) FBI properly invoked Exemption 7(E) to withhold certain records concerning use of informants at Best Buy; (3) FBI failed to provide sufficient information to allow court to determine whether Exemption 7(C) protected name of criminal convicted on evidence obtained from Best Buy in Kentucky; (4) FBI did not sufficiently explain grounds for invoking Exemptions 6, 7(C), 7(D), and 7(E) to categorically withhold informant files for eight confidential informants acknowledged in criminal case.

Summaries of all published opinions issued since April 2015 are available here.

Court opinions issued Apr. 11, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Bartko v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- finding that EOUSA properly relied on Exemption 7(C) to withhold third-party information from three criminal case files, but that it failed to adequately explain its search for emails.

Poitras v. DHS (D.D.C.) -- denying plaintiff’s request for attorney’s fees after finding that: (1) plaintiff had self-interested motives to seek records concerning her repeated border and airport detentions; and (2) withholdings by agencies were proper, let alone reasonable.

Summaries of all published opinions issued since April 2015 are available here.

Court opinion issued Apr. 9, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Wolk Law Firm v. NTSB (E.D. Pa.) -- concluding that: (1) cell phone video of airplane cockpit was protected by Exemption 3 in conjunction with 49 U.S.C. § 1114(c)(1); (2) agency was required to produce documents concerning the chain-of-custody of airplane wreckage; (3) agency properly withheld records pursuant to Exemptions 2, 4, 5, and 6.

Jordan v. DOL (W.D. Mo.) -- denying plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration after finding that the agency disclosed to plaintiff the “very documents he sought in one of the formats he sought.”

Rogers v. EOUSA (D.D.C.) -- ruling that plaintiff’s civil forfeiture settlement agreement with IRS barred FOIA plaintiff’s request to Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for related records, declining to extend D.C. Circuit’s 2017 holding regarding validity of FOIA waivers set forth in criminal plea agreements.

Summaries of all published opinions issued since April 2015 are available here.

Court opinion issued Apr. 4, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Assassination Archives & Research Ctr. v. CIA (D.D.C.) -- adopting magistrate’s recommendation to deny plaintiff’s request for nearly $104,000 in attorney’s fees and costs in connection with request for assassination records concerning Adolf Hitler and Fidel Castro; rejecting plaintiff’s argument that court should abandon D.C. Circuit’s four-factor entitlement test and concluding that CIA acted reasonably in response to plaintiff’s request.

Summaries of all published opinions issued since April 2015 are available here.