FOIA Update: New FOIA Lawsuits Remain at High Level

January 1, 1985

FOIA Update
Vol. VI, No. 3
1985


New FOIA Lawsuits Remain at High Level

As compiled in the Department of Justice's Freedom of Information Act report to Congress for 1984, more than four hundred FOIA cases were filed in the district courts last year. The number of FOIA cases filed annually has remained at this high level for several years.

Nearly forty per cent of the 1984 cases were filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia. (Under the FOIA's "universal venue" provision, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B), any FOIA case can be filed in the D.C. District Court.) Other jurisdictions receiving a relatively high volume of FOIA cases include the Northern and Central Districts of California, the Northern District of Illinois, the Southern District of New York and the Districts of Arizona and Massachusetts.

In over sixty percent of the cases filed in 1984 the Department of Justice was named as the defendant agency, usually in connection with one of its law enforcement components such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Bureau of Prisons. Another twenty percent of all cases were brought against the Department of' the Treasury, the parent agency for such law enforcement organizations as the United States Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the United States Customs Service, as well as the Internal Revenue Service.

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