Last #FOIAFriday Slack Chat began with Adam Marshall of Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press kicking off the discussion with a recent court win over access to immigration data.
To sue or not to sue?
Marshall said some requesters opt to formally appeal their records denials, while some requesters wait until the 21st day rolls up to file the lawsuit.
A lot of agencies release data as soon as litigation is filed.
“The FY 2017 numbers show that administrative appeals were more successful than previous years,” Marshall added.
You have to prove that you have tried an administrative appeal to the denial. It shows that you tried to narrow your search and you can use the agency’s reply as leverage in your case.
For templates on FOIA appeals, look here or at the plethora appeals on MuckRock.
If you’re a reporter who needs to sue
If you’re looking to mediate
If you’re looking to understand
- Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws
- The Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act
Adam Marshall left us with rallying thought: “If requesters always shrug and walk away at that point, it means we are leaving it to FOIA bureaucrats to decide just how secret our government is going to be. That was never part of democracy’s plan,” [said David McCraw of the Times[(https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/insider/foia-freedom-of-information-act-new-york-times.html).
Join us this Friday for our chat with Troy Thibodeaux, a data analyst for the Associated Press, 12 p.m. Eastern Time.
Image via Wikimedia Commons