FOIA Advisor

Court Opinions (2015-16)

Court opinions issued Dec. 28 & Dec. 29, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Dec. 29, 2016

Powell v. IRS (E.D. Mich.) -- adopting magistrate's report and recommendation finding that: (1) plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies or follow agency regulations regarding several requests; (2) IRS conducted a reasonable search for responsive records; and (3) IRS was not required to re-release certain records that it previously provided to plaintiff.

Dec. 28, 2016

Braun v. FBI (D. Mont.) -- ruling that FBI properly withheld records of "unspecified investigations" sought by pro se plaintiff pursuant to Exemptions 3 (31 U.S.C. § 5319), 6, 7(C), and 7(E).

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here

Court opinions issued Dec. 20, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Am. Civil Liberties Union v. U.S. Dep't of Justice (2nd Cir.) -- affirming district court's decision that 52 documents concerning drone strikes were protected from disclosure; finding that seven other drone-related documents were protected by the deliberative process privilege, reversing the district court's judgment that they must be disclosed.    

Rosiere v. United States (10th Cir.) -- affirming district court's decision to dismiss pro se prisoner's lawsuit as malicious, in light of his multiple, repetitious suits.  

Nat'l Ass'n of Criminal Def. Lawyers v. U.S. Dep't of Justice (D.C. Cir.) -- denying appellant's petition for rehearing, but amending July 19, 2016 opinion and remanding case to district court to consider whether requested "Blue Book" manual contains non-exempt and reasonably segregable statements of discovery policy.  

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.

Court opinions issued Dec. 15, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Gahagan v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs. (5th Cir.) -- affirming district court's decision that plaintiff was "eligible" but not "entitled" to attorney's fees; rejecting plaintiff's argument that eligibility-entitlement test had been superseded by statutory amendments in 2007.    

Cause of Action Inst. v. Eggleston (D.D.C.) -- rejecting plaintiff's claim that various agencies engaged in a "pattern and practice" of violating FOIA by delaying responses to consult with the Office of White Counsel.  As an initial matter, the court held that plaintiff's claim improperly relied upon requests made by other requesters, as well as requests submitted by plaintiff that did not involve White House consultation.  Further, the court observed that "delay alone, even repeated delay," is not actionable as a pattern-and-practice claim.  Lastly, the court found that plaintiff's allegation that its requests were delayed for unnecessary and illicit purposes was "conclusory" and "unsupported."

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.

Court opinions issued Dec. 12, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Freedom Watch v. Nat'l Sec. Agency (D.D.C.) -- on remand from D.C. Circuit, finding that the State Department conducted an adequate search for records relating to New York Times article about classified government cyberattacks against Iranian nuclear program.

Gahagan v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs. (E.D. La.) -- striking agency declaration because declarant did not attest that he had personal knowledge of or familiarity with documents in question.

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.

Court opinions issued Dec. 6, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Baker v. FBI (N.D. Ill.) -- ruling that the FBI properly relied on Exemptions 6 and 7(C) to withhold identifying information of federal and local law enforcement personnel and third party suspects from an investigative file.  

Kinman v. United States (S.D. Ohio) -- denying government's motion to dismiss (on procedural grounds) FOIA and Privacy Act suit against Department of Veterans Affairs in which plaintiff seeks access to individual claim files known as "C-files."  

Muchnick v. DHS (N.D. Cal.) -- reissuing tentative order and opinion from November 2, 2016 (summarized here) as a final order and opinion. 

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.

Court opinions issued Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Dec. 1, 2016

Competitive Enter. Inst. v. U.S. Dep't of State (E.D. Va.) -- finding that agency properly redacted communications concerning U.N. Climate Conference in Paris pursuant to Exemption 5 (deliberative process privilege), with the exception of certain portions of two documents consisting of merely factual statements.

Ocasio v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- ruling that DOJ's Office of Inspector General properly relied on Exemption 7(C) to categorically withhold all records of agency's investigation into FBI's response to plaintiff's complaint of criminal conduct by a third party.

Nov. 30, 2016

Argus Leader Media v. USDA (D.S.D.) -- following a bench trial, concluding that the agency failed to carry its burden under Exemption 4 to prove that disclosure of certain "food stamp" data would cause substantial competitive harm to individual grocery stores participating in the agency's program.  

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.

Court opinions issued Nov. 23, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Levinthal v. Fed. Election Comm'n (D.D.C.) -- concluding that the agency properly withheld a vulnerability assessment of its information technology systems pursuant to Exemptions 5 and 7(E).   

Sklarski v. Niagara Falls Bridge Comm'n (W.D.N.Y.) -- holding that the Commission is not subject to FOIA because its employees are not federal employees, it receives no federal funds, and the federal government does not recommend or appoint Commissioners.

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.