Monday, October 22, 2012

Attorneys Fees Awarded in FOIA Request Against USCIS

Congratulations to Kip Steinberg, Esq.!

From Kip Evan Steinberg:

In a case I litigated pro bono for five years concerning the government’s failure to provide evidence of my client’s alleged “false testimony” in a naturalization case, the district court has awarded $321,000 in attorneys’ fees under the FOIA.  The Court said that “Defendants’ delays and withholding may not have been in good faith” and “the evidence suggests its actions teeter on the edge of obduracy.”
In the underlying case, the Court had found that USCIS  improperly withheld non-exempt documents; engaged in a pattern and practice of violating FOIA’s time limit provisions; and promulgated Track Three FOIA processing in violation of the Mayock Settlement Agreement and the APA.  The Court issued a permanent injunction ordering USCIS to provide a copy of an “A” file for all requestors within the 20 day period mandated by the FOIA and to give written notice if a 10 day extension of time is needed due to “unusual circumstances”.   The government has appealed the underlying case to the Ninth Circuit.
Note:  This is the fifth district court opinion related to this litigation.  In case anyone is interested, the citations are:
2011 WL 2118602 (MSJ/Natz)
849 F. Supp. 2d 945 (Natz Order)
2012 WL 4113203 ( $66,764 in Atty Fees/Natz)
832 F. Supp 2d. 1095 (MSJ/FOIA)
2012 WL 4903475 (Atty Fees/FOIA)


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