Environmental Integrity Project v. EPA, No. 17-1203, 2018 WL 3581689 (D.D.C. July 25, 2018) (Bates, J.)
Re: Request for records of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s travel vouchers and schedule of meetings with outside parties
Disposition: Denying plaintiff's Motion for Attorneys' Fees
- Attorney Fees, Eligibility: The court finds that "it does not appear that EPA did in fact change its position, much less that the lawsuit caused such a change." The court explains, "EPA had made requests internally for the records before the lawsuit was ever filed." Staffing shortages, pending lawsuits, and the impact of natural disasters on the agency's ability to review records "support the conclusions that unintentional administrative burdens and unavoidable outside factors delayed EPA's response, and that [the plaintiff's] lawsuit did not cause the eventual release." Furthermore, "in the face of these unavoidable factors, EPA exercised due diligence to ensure the request was processed." The court also holds that "EPA's failure to use FOIA's statutory mechanisms to extend its time to respond to [the plaintiff's] request also is not indicative of a lack of due diligence."