FOIA Advisor

Court opinions issued Jan. 26-Jan. 28, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Jan. 28, 2016

Inst. for Policy Studies v. U.S. Cent. Intelligence Agency (D.D.C.) -- granting the government's request to reconsider the court's August 19, 2015 decision, and concluding that the CIA need not search its "operational files" in response to plaintiff's request.

Lucaj v. U.S. Fed. Bureau of Investigation (E.D. Mich.) -- ruling that the Department of Justice (DOJ) properly invoked Exemption 5 and 7(C) to protect requested records about the government's involvement in plaintiff's arrest in Vienna, Austria.  Of note, the court held that communications between DOJ and two foreign governments qualified as "inter-agency" for Exemption 5 purposes because the foreign governments had a common interest with the United States. 

Competitive Enterprise Inst.  v. U.S. Envtl. Prot. Agency (D.D.C.) -- dismissing plaintiff's action as moot because the parties had resolved the underlying dispute set forth in the complaint, namely the propriety of EPA's production schedule (100 of 120,000 pages monthly).  The court rejected plaintiff's argument that the complaint sought to challenge the agency's redactions or that plaintiff alleged or demonstrated a "pattern or practice" of violating FOIA by "slow-walking" requests.   

Jan. 27, 2016

Petrucelli v. U.S. Dep't of Justice (D.D.C.) -- ruling that the Executive Office for United States Attorneys properly relied on Exemption 7(C) to redact the identities of FBI personnel, witnesses, and plaintiff's attorney from correspondence between the plaintiff's criminal defense counsel and government prosecutors.  

Donoghue v. Office of Info. Policy (D.D.C.) -- finding that the FBI demonstrated that it conducted an adequate search for information responsive to pro se prisoner's FOIA request and that it maintained no responsive records.

Jan. 26, 2016

Main St. Legal Servs., Inc. v. Nat'l Sec. Council (2nd Cir.) -- affirming district court's decision that the NSC (i.e., the Council and the NSC System generally) is not an agency subject to FOIA.  In reaching its decision, the Second Circuit relied, in part, upon the statutory function of the Council, which is solely advisory to, and not independent of, the President. 

Ewell v. U.S. Dep't of Justice (D.D.C.) -- determining that the Criminal Division conducted an adequate search for wiretap records concerning plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, and that the agency properly withheld all records pursuant to Exemption 3 (18 U.S.C. § 2518) and Exemption 5 (attorney work-product).

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.