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Franklin v. United States, No. 21-11104, 2022 WL 4244832 (5th Cir. Sept. 15, 2022) (King, J.)


Franklin v. United States, No. 21-11104, 2022 WL 4244832 (5th Cir. Sept. 15, 2022) (King, J.)

Re:  Request for certain tax records concerning requester

Disposition:  Affirming district court’s denial of requester’s motion for attorney fees

  • Attorney Fees:  The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit relates that “[the requester] did not file an administrative appeal of the IRS’s response to his FOIA request; instead, he took the response at face value . . . .”  “[The requester] later amended his complaint to seek attorneys’ fees under FOIA after the Government, in its Motion for Partial Dismissal, attached exhibits that had not been produced in response to [plaintiff’s] FOIA request, which the Government asserted demonstrated that the penalties had been approved by the relevant supervisor.”  The court holds that “[t]he district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to award fees.”  “[The requester’s] lawsuit is far afield from the purposes for which FOIA, and its attorneys’ fees provision, were designed.”  “There is no public value in the information, and no value for anyone other than [the requester].”  “Instead, [the requester] only sought the information to aid him in his personal fight with the IRS regarding his tax penalties.”  “Our collective treasury of knowledge is made no richer through knowing whether or not an IRS supervisor signed forms authorizing the penalties assessed against [the requester].”  “The public gains no benefit from that information; only [the requester] could as he seeks to overturn those penalties.”
Court Decision Topic(s)
Court of Appeals opinions
Attorney Fees
Updated October 26, 2022