Access to information maintained by government agencies is a fundamental and necessary right in a functioning democracy. Law Offices of Brian Gaffney APC represents citizens and groups in their record requests and in litigation where needed. Representative litigation under the federal Freedom of Information Act and the California Public Records Act includes:
Institute for Policy Studies v. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 885 F.Supp.2d 120 (D.C. District of Columbia 2012) Federal Court Ruled that CIA Must Release Records Regarding Paramilitary Efforts To Kill Pablo Escobar.
Summary judgment ruling for plaintiffs resulted in FOIA release of over 20,000 pages of CIA and other agency records regarding the drug lord Pablo Escobar and efforts in Colombia to assassinate Escobar. Full fee waiver granted. Initially the CIA refused to conduct any search for records; in litigation, the CIA raised national security defenses. Court ordered the CIA to search its National Clandestine Service directorate and the Directorate of Science and Technology. Court rejected CIA Glomar (neither confirm nor deny existence of records) exemption. Records also released by the State Department, DEA, Department of Defense, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Litigation ongoing.
Environmental Protection Information Center v. U.S. Forest Service, 432 F.3d 945 (9th Circuit 2005) 9th Circuit Ruled that Forest Service GIS Records Must Be Released to Nonprofit Free of Charge.
After losing at the trial court, on appeal the Ninth Circuit ruled that non-profit plaintiffs were entitled to a FOIA fee waiver for GIS (Geospatial Information System) data from the U.S. Forest Service. Decision resulted in release of all requested data and waiver of any fees.
Sierra Club v. National Marine Fisheries Service
NMFS Release Of Records Related to Pacific Lumber / Headwaters Forest Lands. NMFS failed to provide documents requested. After filing suit, NMFS released documents free of charge.
Riverlaw v. State Water Board (Sacramento Superior Court, April, 2005). Settlement resulted in policy changes by 9 Regional Water Quality Control Board and State Water Board – providing greater access California Public Records Act records.
Friends of Suisun Marsh v. Army Corps of Engineers, (N.D. Cal. Civ. No. C99-3445 MEJ). Dredging permit records released free of charge.
San Bruno Mountain Watch v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, (N.D. Cal. Civ. No. C99-3444 SBA.) Records released free of charge regarding Endangered Species Act permit and need for ESA section 7 consultation.
The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association v. University of California, Berkeley. Public Records Act litigation resulted in UC Berkeley release of documents.
Spirit of the Sage Council v. San Bernardino Habitat Conservation Plan Steering Committee, Board of Supervisors steering committee failed to hold meetings in public as required by Brown Open Meeting Act.