FOIA Advisor

Court Opinions (2019)

Court opinions issued Sept. 13, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Majuc v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- ruling that DOJ failed to show that Exemption 7(A) protected records of criminal investigation into company that pleaded guilty in 2014 for evading economic sanctions against Sudan, Iran, and Cuba.

Silbaugh v. Pizzella (W.D. Wash.) -- finding that Department of Labor performed reasonable search for records responsive to plaintiff’s multiple requests and that it did not withhold any records.

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

Court opinion issued Sept. 12, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Heartland All. for Human Needs & Human Rights v. ICE (D.D.C.) -- concluding that: (1) agency performed adequate search of field offices but not its program offices for records concerning detention beds and bond amounts for detainees; (2) agency did not justify its withholdings pursuant to Exemption 5 and failed to provide Vaughn Index for disputed bond-related records; and (3) OMB properly withheld records pursuant to Exemption 5’s deliberative process privilege.

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

Court opinions issued Sept. 10-11, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Sept. 11, 2019

Barry v. Koskinen (D. N.J.) -- determining that plaintiff failed to administratively appeal from IRS denial of his request for oaths, qualifications, and bonds of certain agency employees.

Sept. 10, 2019

Wen Dong Zhao v. U.S. Dep't of State (2nd Cir.) -- summary order affirming district court’s decision that agency performed reasonable search for research documents that plaintiff allegedly provided to the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand in 2003.

Long v. CIA (D.D.C.) -- of note, holding that CIA had not demonstrated that writing new computer code to locate responsive records in its FOIA database or compiling resulting records would constitute creation of new records or be “extremely burdensome.”

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

Court opinion issued Sept. 3, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Dorsey & Whitney v. USPS (D. Minn.) -- adopting magistrate’s report and recommendation that Postal Service failed to demonstrate that it properly refused to confirm or deny existence of negotiated service agreements between USPS and private parties pursuant to Exemption 3, in conjunction with 39 U.S.C. § 410(c)(2) ("good business” exception).

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

Court opinions issued Aug. 30, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Lamb v. Millennium Challenge Corp. (D.D.C.) -- determining that Dep’t of Defense did not provide sufficient information to permit court to uphold agency’s Exemption 7(D) redactions on two pages of plaintiff’s employment background investigation.

Pinson v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- deciding that: (1) plaintiff was not entitled to reconsideration of court’s interlocutory order even if he did not receive DOJ’s motion for summary judgment; (2) Executive Office for United States Attorneys performed reasonable searches for records concerning three criminal cases'; and (3) following in camera review, Federal Bureau of Prisons properly withheld certain information pursuant to Exemption 7(F).

Nat. Res. Def. Council v. EPA (S.D.N.Y.) -- finding that: (1) EPA performed reasonable search for records about chemical office’s deputy assistant administrator; (2) EPA properly withheld certain documents pursuant to attorney-client privilege; (3) EPA properly relied on deliberative process privilege to withhold drafts of agency rules, formal guidance, scoping documents, issue papers, reports, and documents, but it improperly withheld certain “messaging,” briefing, and program documents. In reaching its decision, the court determined that EPA had satisfied the statute’s independent foreseeable harm standard.

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

Court opinions issued Aug. 29, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. USDA (9th Cir.) -- in 2-1 decision, holding that statute authorized courts to order agencies to comply with “reading room” provisions (in this case, online posting of “frequently requested” records generated by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service) and remanding to district court to determine whether plaintiffs had exhausted their administrative remedies.

Junk v. Bd. of Governors of Fed. Reserve Sys. (S.D.N.Y.) -- concluding that records concerning three loans issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York do not constitute agency records of the Board.

White Coat Waste Project v. U.S. Dep't of Veterans Affairs (D.D.C.) -- ruling that agency improperly relied on deliberative process privilege to withhold name of principal investigator on animal research protocol, and that agency failed to provide it with sufficient information to determine whether principal investigator's name was properly withheld under Exemption 6.

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

Court opinion issued Aug. 27, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Satterlee v. Comm'r of IRS (W.D. Mo.) -- dismissing action against IRS because plaintiff did not send request to appropriate official or address, but finding that request to Treasury used address “very similar” to address provided in agency regulations and should have been forwarded to appropriate office for processing.

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