FOIA Advisor

Court Opinions (2019)

Court opinions issued July 12, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Rocky Mounty Wild v. U.S. Forest Serv. (D. Colo.) -- ordering plaintiff to return, delete, or permanently destroy certain privileged records that agency inadvertently produced in response to FOIA request.

Prot. Our Defenders v. DOD (D. Conn.) -- finding that: (1) Air Force did not satisfactorily explain its searches for records concerning the agency’s “diversity team”; (2) Air Force properly withheld certain records pursuant to attorney-client and deliberative process privileges, except with respect to recommendations contained in “Talking Paper" on diversity efforts; (3) four DOD components and the Coast Guard improperly relied on Exemption 6 to withhold non-purely personal information from Staff Judge Advocate biographies; and (4) names of military personnel redacted from other requested records did not fall within Exemption 6 because the records did not constitute "personnel and medical files and similar files."

Bartko v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- ruling that plaintiff was entitled to public interest fee waiver for request concerning his criminal case, because disclosure would “educate the public about a larger pattern of prosecutorial misconduct in the Eastern District of North Carolina.”

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

Court opinion issued July 10, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Civil Beat Law Ctr. for the Pub. Interest v. CDC (9th Cir.) -- ruling that: (1) dispute over agency’s withholding of letter detailing regulatory violations at University of Hawaii’s bio-laboratory was moot because agency released letter while appeal was pending; (2) reversing and remanding district court’s judgment that agency properly withheld all references to University of Hawaii’s bio-laboratory pursuant to Exemption 3 in conjunction with the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002; and (3) affirming district court’s decision that agency properly withheld names and contact information of CDC employees who performed inspection of bio-laboratory.

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

Court opinions issued July 9, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

N.Y. Times v. U.S. Dep't of State (S.D.N.Y.) -- concluding that with two minor exceptions, agency properly relied on deliberative process and attorney-client privileges to withhold two chain emails concerning Transportation Secretary Chao’s planned trip to China in 2017.

Bartko v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- ruling that “government-misconduct” exception did not apply to records withheld by EOUSA pursuant to deliberative process privilege and that agency otherwise met its burden of producing responsive records.

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

Court opinions issued July 8, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Welenc v. DOJ (D.D.C. ) -- determining that FBI performed adequate search for records concerning plaintiff and that it properly withheld records pursuant to Exemptions 5 and 6.

Montgomery v. IRS (D.D.C.) -- ruling that agency’s Glomar response was improper because agency failed to identify which FOIA exemption it was relying upon.

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

Court opinions issued July 3, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Davis v. FBI (D.D.C.) -- finding that: (1) FBI and Secret Service performed adequate searches for records concerning plaintiff; (2) FBI properly withheld records pursuant to Exemption 3, in conjunction with the Bank Secrecy Act, and Exemptions 6, 7(C), 7(D), and 7(E); and (3) Secret Service properly withheld records pursuant to Exemption 3, in conjunction with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), and Exemptions 6 and 7(C).

Pichardo-Martinez v. USMS (D.D.C.) -- concluding that agency failed to demonstrate the adequacy of its search for records concerning plaintiff and failed to justify its application of Exemption 7(C) and 7(E).

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

Court opinions issued June 30-July 1, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

July 1, 2019

Jordan v. DOL (D.D.C.) -- denying plaintiff’s motion for relief from judgment, which had been affirmed by D.C. Circuit, that agency properly relied on attorney-client privilege to withheld one email concerning plaintiff’s litigation against third party.

June 30, 2019

Am. Ctr. for Law & Justice v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- on renewed summary judgment, ruling that agency properly relied on deliberative process privilege to withhold draft talking points prepared for Attorney General concerning FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s email use and the Attorney General’s meeting with President Clinton at Phoenix airport in June 2016.

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

Court opinions issued June 24-25, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

June 25, 2019

Nikaj v. U.S. Dep't of State (W.D. Wash.) -- concluding that agency properly withheld certain records concerning plaintiff’s unsuccessful visa applications pursuant to Exemptions 3 (Immigration & Nationality Act), 6, and 7(C).

Judicial Watch v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- finding that FBI properly relied on attorney-work product privilege to withhold agent interviews of President Obama and his advisors concerning former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

June 24, 2019

Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media (S.Ct.) -- reversing Eighth Circuit’s decision and holding that commercial and financial information is “confidential” under Exemption 4 when it is customarily and actually treated as private by its owner and provided to the government under an assurance of privacy,

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

Court opinions issued June 21, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Whittaker v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- ruling that FBI failed to explain with reasonable specificity how Exemption 7(E) categorically protects the results of its “National Agency Check.”

Poulsen v. DOD (N.D. Cal.) -- determining that plaintiff was ineligible for attorney’s fees notwithstanding government’s partial withdrawal of Glomar responses following two intervening public acknowledgments relevant to plaintiff’s request.

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