FOIA Advisor

Court Opinions (2019)

Court opinions issued May 22, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Pub. Citizen. v. U.S. Dep't of Educ. (D.D.C.) -- concluding that agency properly relied on deliberative process and attorney-client privileges to withhold records pertaining to agency event, notably including the name of agency attorney from whom advice was sought.

Amadis v. DOJ (D.D.C. ) -- ruling that: (1) plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies with respect to responses issued by DEA and FBI, notwithstanding those agencies’ offers to perform additional searches; (2) DEA performed adequate search for records pertaining to agency’s processing of plaintiff’s earlier FOIA request; (3) FBI properly relied on Exemption 7(E) to withhold search slips and case notes pertaining to its processing of plaintiff’s earlier FOIA request; (4) DOJ’s Office of Information Policy reasonably interpreted scope of plaintiff’s request and properly relied on Exemptions 5 and 6 to withhold information from its appeal “blitz” forms; (5) Department of State performed adequate search for records pertaining to its processing of plaintiff’s earlier FOIA request.

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

Court opinion issued May 17, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Proctor v. NARA (N.D. Cal.) -- finding that: (1) agency properly relied on Exemption 3 in conjunction with Rule Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) to withhold plaintiff's 1998 deposition transcript regarding Monica Lewinsky, except as to the identities of the prosecutors, the court reporter, and plaintiff; and (2) court did not have inherent authority to release remaining deposition transcript; that authority belonged to the Eastern District of Virginia, under whose supervision the transcript was produced.

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

Court opinions issued May 16, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Humane Soc'y v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv. (E.D. Va.) -- concluding that: (1) agency released copies of all requested African elephant and lion trophy permits, which mooted plaintiff’s claim; and (2) FOIA’s reading room provision did not obligate government to publish permitting records created in the future on a continuous basis.

Willis v. FBI (D.D.C.) -- finding that FBI performed adequate search for records concerning plaintiff and that it properly withheld name of agency employee pursuant to Exemption 6.

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

Court opinions issued May 8 and May 10, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

May 10, 2019

Scott v. U.S. Attorney Offices (D. Md.) -- dismissing lawsuit after determining that plaintiff failed to appeal EOUSA’s initial response to his request and that EOUSA released all responsive records.

May 8, 2019

Chetal v. U.S. Dep't of Interior (N.D. Cal.) -- denying plaintiff’s motion for sanctions after finding that government produced records ordered to be released.

Am. Civil Liberties Union of Me. Found. v. DHS (D. Me.) -- upholding in part DHS’s Exemption 7(E) redactions to records concerning immigration investigations in which government officers stopped bus passengers to ask whether they are United States citizens.

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

Court opinion issued May 1, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Yagman v. Haspel (9th Cir.) (unpublished) -- (1) reversing district court’s decision that plaintiff failed to reasonably describe his request for records pertaining to torture and that plaintiff was not entitled to costs for prior, successful appeal; (2) affirming district court’s decision to deny plaintiff’s motion to disqualify judge.

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

Court opinions issued Apr. 30, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. DOJ (D.C. Cir.) -- in a 2-1 opinion, affirming district court’s decision to dismiss plaintiff’s claim seeking all formal written opinion of Office of Legal Counsel, as well as indices of those opinions, under so-called “reading-room” provision. The dissent argued that the majority erroneously placed burden on plaintiff to request records that were not exempt, and that plaintiff alleged sufficient facts to survive motion to dismiss.

Brennan Ctr. for Justice at N.Y. Univ. Sch. of Law v. DOJ (S.D.N.Y.) -- ruling that: (1) DHS and OMB performed inadequate search for records pertaining to President Trump’s voter integrity commission; and (2) government was required to determine whether relevant custodians maintained responsive records on their personal email accounts, because plaintiff produced evidence that two agency employees maintained such records.

Willis v. Nat'l Sec. Agency (D.D.C.) -- finding that NSA properly refused to confirm or deny existence of intelligence records pertaining to plaintiff under Exemptions 1 and 3, and that it performed adequate search for non-intelligence records.

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

Court opinion issued Apr. 28, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Hardway v. CIA (D.D.C.) -- ruling that: (1) CIA performed adequate search for only one of four categories of records concerning plaintiffs, who participated in congressional investigations of assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King; and (2) CIA properly invoked Exemption 3 , in conjunction with 50 15 U.S.C. § 3507, to redact CIA employees’ names and signatures that appeared on the two non-disclosure agreements.

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

Court opinion issued Apr. 24, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Rojas v. FAA (9th Cir.) -- reversing district court’s opinion and finding that: (1) FAA failed to demonstrate the adequacy of its search for records concerning employment test; and (2) “consultant corollary” principle relied upon by FAA was “contrary to Exemption 5’s text and FOIA’s policy of broad disclosure, and its legal foundation . . . is tenuous at best.”

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