FOIA Advisor

Court Opinions (2019)

Court opinions issued Aug. 19, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Prop. of People, Inc. v. OMB (D.D.C.) -- ruling that OMB properly withheld calendar entries related to National Security Council meetings pursuant to presidential communications privilege of Exemption 5.

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund v. ATF (S.D.N.Y) -- holding that: (1) appropriations rider prohibiting expenditure of funds to release firearms trace information in response to FOIA requests does not qualify as Exemption 3 statute because it does not cite that statutory provision as required by 2009 FOIA amendments; and (2) request for various statistical information concerning firearms used in suicides or attempted suicides would not require creation of new records.

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

Court opinions issued Aug. 15, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Humane Soc'y Int'l v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv. (D.D.C.) -- concluding that: (1) names of names of individual wildlife importers and exporters were properly withheld pursuant to Exemption 7(C); and (2) parties were required readdress whether disputed information was properly withheld under Exemption 4 in light of Supreme Court’s recent decision invalidating National Parks test.

Behar v. DHS (S.D.N.Y.) -- determining that U.S. Secret Service Service properly relied on Exemption 7(C) to withhold names of law enforcement personnel from records concerning Donald Trump’s meetings as presidential candidate and as president-elect, but that declarations did not sufficiently address privacy interests of other third parties.

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

Court opinions issued Aug. 13, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Higgs v. U.S. Park Police (7th Cir.) -- reversing district court’s decision that FBI did not justify its use of Exemption 7(C) to withhold records about third parties involved in plaintiff’s triple-murder conviction . The Seventh Circuit found that even though record was not fully developed as to varying interests of third parties, plaintiff’s public interest arguments -- namely that disclosure would reveal government misconduct and educate public about DOJ’s execution of its law-enforcement duties - - could not not overcome those privacy interests.

N.Y. Legal Assistance Grp.. v. Bd. of Immigration Appeals (S.D.N.Y.) -- holding that neither FOIA nor Administrative Procedure Act permitted the court to order agency to publish requested material in electronic reading room.

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

Court opinions issued Aug. 12, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. USDA (9th Cir., 2019) -- affirming decision that district court had jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claim that USDA had policy or practice of denying plaintiff’s requests for expedited processing, and also affirming district court’s decision that threats to safety of animals do not fall within statute’s expedited processing provision -- nor, in dicta, within Exemption 7(F).

Cable New Network v. FBI (D.D.C.) -- denying FBI’s motion to reconsider prior opinion granting access to FBI declaration, rejecting argument that FBI had “effectively” invoked Exemption 3 despite never mentioning it in briefs or declarations.

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

Court opinion issued Aug. 8, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Ctr. for Pub. Integrity v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce (D.D.C.) -- deciding that Commerce and U.S. Office of Government Ethics submitted deficient Vaughn indices and failed to demonstrate that they released all segregable, non-exempt information -- in particular the authors, recipients, dates, and subject fields of emails, letters, and memoranda, which government claimed had no informational value.

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

Court opinions issued Aug. 6, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Elec. Privacy Info. Ctr. v. DEA (D.D.C.) -- concluding that DEA properly relied on Exemption 7(E) to withhold two categories of records concerning the Hemisphere Project, a program that collects daily data on telephone calls.

Sheppard v. DOJ (W.D. Mo.) -- determining that: (1) DOJ failed to perform adequate search for records pertaining to government’s investigation into its prosecution of arson case; (2) DOJ failed to submit adequate Vaughn Index; and (3) privacy waivers of third parties submitted by plaintiff would override DOJ’s assertions of Exemptions 6 and 7(C).

Open Soc'y Justice Initiative v. CIA (S.D.N.Y.) -- denying government’s motion to reconsider court’s order that Department of State and Department of Defense each process 5000 pages per month in case concerning death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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

Court opinion issued Aug. 2, 2019

Court Opinions (2019)Allan BlutsteinComment

Bartko v. DOJ (D.D.C.) -- on remand from D.C. Circuit, determining that: (1) FBI needed to provide more detailed showing in order to rely solely upon Exemption 7(C) to withhold material sought by grand jury; (2) Office of Professional Responsibility properly withheld records pursuant to Exemption 5 (deliberative process privilege) and Exemption 6; and (3) EOUSA properly withheld records pursuant to Exemptions 5, 6, and 7(C), as court had ruled in earlier opinion.

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