Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1966 to promote government transparency and the free exchange of public information. Under FOIA, any individual can request federal... more +
The Freedom of Information Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1966 to promote government transparency and the free exchange of public information. Under FOIA, any individual can request federal agency records and enforce that right in a court of law. However, not all agency records can be requested; there are nine exempt categories of information. In addition to the federal law, many states have passed their own freedom of information acts. These acts are often similar but not always identical to the federal version.  less -
News & Analysis as of

Protective Order Issued in Suit to Stop EPA from Releasing Farmers’ Information

A federal district court in Minnesota recently issued a protective order prohibiting the EPA from releasing information about animal feeding operations—including farmers' names, home addresses, telephone numbers and email...more

Self Righteousness Still Does Not Help the Environmentalists’ Cause

Fully five years ago, I noted that the cavalier treatment by government officials of FOIA requests made by opponents of government policy revealed a degree of self-righteousness that was both offensive and self-defeating –...more

President Obama Issues Executive Order Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing

On Friday, February 13, 2015, President Obama signed an executive order, Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing (the “EO”), designed to encourage private companies to share information regarding threats to...more

Municipal Legal News - Volume 1 Number 1

Major Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") Amendments - Public Act 563 of 2014 ("Act 563") amends the FOIA to impose a number of new regulations on public bodies. All municipalities will need to review their FOIA...more

SHREDDING TRADE SECRETS: Heli-Ski Operators Fret over FOIA Disclosures Releasing a Blizzard of Confidential Information

Heli-skiing: it’s the holy grail for thrill-seeking skiers and snowboarders.   Ride to the roof of the world aboard a helicopter. Descend thousands of vertical feet through fresh, untracked powder.  No lift lines, no ski...more

UK: Data Protection - Information Tribunal rule on FOIA exemptions concerning the Tate Gallery and BP

The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has considered whether the Tate Gallery was exempt from disclosing information concerning sponsorship and meeting minutes to BP under sections 41(1) and 43(2) of the Freedom of...more

Significant Changes to Michigan FOIA Laws Coming In July

Michigan governmental entities will face significant new regulations on how they charge for responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests beginning July 1, 2015. ...more

Recent Trends and Patterns in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Enforcement

In this memo: - Enforcement Actions and Strategies - Perennial Statutory Issues - Compliance Guidance - Unusual Developments - Private Litigation - Enforcement in the United...more

Petitioner Opposes NY Regulator’s Motion To Dismiss Lawsuit Seeking Access to Database of Alleged Illegal Payday Lenders

The consumer financial services attorney (the petitioner) who sued the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and its superintendent, Benjamin Lawsky, to obtain access to DFS’s database of alleged illegal...more

Inadvertent Disclosure of Privileged Documents in Response to a Public Records Act Request Converts the Document Into a Public...

The Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, delivered a sobering reminder to public agencies to carefully review documents produced in response to the Public Records Act (“PRA”) to avoid disclosure of documents protected...more

New FOIA Amendments Affect Public Bodies’ Responses to Requests

Effective immediately, the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto to approve new amendments to the FOIA, which are designed to reduce the burden on public bodies. Public Act 98-1129 provides the following: 1) a...more

Amendment to Illinois FOIA Impacts Requests for Records Available Online - Public Bodies Now Have More Authority Regarding Their...

The Illinois General Assembly overrode Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of House Bill 3796 amending the Illinois Freedom of Information Act on Dec. 3, 2014. HB 3796 is now law, effective immediately. The key provisions of HB 3796...more

Do-Gooders Won’t Take “No” For An Answer

About a month ago we posted an article on the dismissal of Consumer Watchdog’s appeal at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit following a loss at the USPTO in an inter partes reexamination. Consumer Watchdog, Inc. had...more

When a Meeting is Not a Meeting, at Least According to the FOIC

Most public entities are now intimately familiar with the long reach of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) into the conduct of agency meetings. A recent case from the Freedom of Information Commission (“FOIC”) reminds...more

New Survey Dispels Common Myths About Arbitration

Did you know that 87% of experienced arbitrators report *always* trying to follow applicable law in rendering an award? That will come as a surprise to many critics who like to complain that arbitrators do not adhere to...more

Let’s Go To The Videotape: Can School Security Videos Be Subject To Disclosure Under FOIA?

School districts usually deny requests to view school video recordings, such as security tapes, in light of concerns about the privacy rights of students featured on these recordings. In a recent decision, the Freedom of...more

Proposed Revisions to the DoD’s FOIA Procedures

It is common for Government contractors to utilize the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain documents relevant to their business development, operations, and – often – claims. While FOIA requests can be a...more

PERM FOIA Litigation Reveals DOL Directives on Business Necessity and Finite Employment

Earlier this year, as a result of Freedom of Information Request Act (FOIA) litigation, the U.S. Department of Labor released a number of documents related to the agency’s policies and procedures in processing labor...more

Sex, Lies, and The FOIA: Wotjas v. Town of Stonington and The Disclosure of Sexual Harassment Complaints, Regardless of “Guilt.”

This author wrote previously on the status of sexual harassment investigations under the Freedom of Information Act [”FOIA”]. In a case that has grabbed some notoriety; the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has...more

How to Respond to FOIA Requests For Overall Teacher Summative Ratings?

LR-hands-over-laptopkeysIt has come to our attention that certain school districts in Connecticut have already received requests under the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] for access to overall district and school level...more

Advocacy Group Sues EPA Over 2014 RFS Agency Communications

On October 21, 2014, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued EPA. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. CREW alleges that EPA failed to comply with its Freedom of...more

PAC Holds that Public Bodies Must Release Employee Informal Investigative Reports

The Public Access Counselor (PAC) recently addressed the issue of whether informal employee investigative reports concerning the misconduct of a public employee are subject to disclosure under Section 7(1)(n) of the FOIA. In...more

Surge in FOIA Requests to State Agencies Seeking Information About PE and Other Alternative Investment Fund Sponsors

We have recently observed a surge in freedom-of-information (“FOIA”) requests made by media outlets to state pension funds and other state-government-affiliated investment entities. Although the requests have so far...more

How to Respond to FOIA Requests For Overall Teacher Summative Ratings?

It has come to our attention that certain school districts in Connecticut have already received requests under the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] for access to overall district and school level summative ratings of all...more

EEOC Dragged Through Texas Roadhouse

In a positively sublime “man bites dog” story, Texas Roadhouse restaurants recently sued the EEOC for alleged violations of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). The story begins in 2011, when the EEOC filed a national...more

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