Tag Archive | Freedom of Information Act

New Court Ruling: USDA’s GIS Data Need Not Be Disclosed

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Recent court ruling finds that USDA GIS data need not be disclosed via a FOIA request because of the 2008 Farm Bill provision. The court’s opinion will have implications specifically for Nebraska’s 23 natural resources districts, primarily for water management purposes.

Central Platte Natural Resources District (Appellant) v. United States Department of Agriculture; Farm Service Agency (Appellees) Central Platte Natural Resources District (Central Platte) sought disclosure of geospatial data from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Farm Service Agency (collectively the USDA) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq. The district court dismissed Central Platte’s APA claim on the ground that it already had an adequate remedy and granted summary judgment on its FOIA claim on the ground that the USDA was not required to disclose the requested geospatial data. … For the full Judicial View article, click here.

For text of the court’s opinion, visit: United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, Case No. 10-3205. Thank you to the GSDI listserv for the heads up!

Supreme Court Upholds Resident’s Right to Navy Maps, Rules Against FOIA Exemption

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Supreme Court Upholds Resident’s Right to Navy Maps, Rules Against FOIA Exemption

by Adena Schutzberg, Directions Magazine, March 8, 2011

The Supreme Court rejected the government’s use of an exemption in the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to keep maps from the public. A Washington state resident wants Navy maps relating to its main West Coast ammunition dump. The individual will see those maps.

via Supreme Court Upholds Resident’s Right to Navy Maps, Rules Against FOIA Exemption – All Points Blog.


Background: Supreme Court hears arguments in Navy FOIA case

by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, December 1, 2010

… The case before the court, Milner v. Department of the Navy, concerned the Navy’s decision to withhold documents requested under the federal Freedom of Information Act regarding U.S. Navy maps depicting the placement of explosives at a Washington state naval munitions site. The Navy refused area resident Glen Scott Milner’s FOIA request for safety maps and data that show the placement and potential blast ranges of ammunition stored in Naval Magazine Indian Island, located near Port Hadlock, Wash. Milner was seeking information on the potential dangers to the nearby communities of the Navy’s munition storage practices. …

For full text of the article, visit here.


For links to the argument, opinion, merits briefs and amicus briefs, visit the Supreme Court of the United States Blog: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/milner-v-department-of-the-navy/

FOIA Implications: Are corporations entitled, under federal law, to “personal privacy”?

From Scotusblog: http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/09/a-review-of-state-secrets/

After the heavy political controversy over the Supreme Court’s ruling early this year treating corporations as “persons” and thus freeing them to spend what they wish in federal election campaigns, the Court on Tuesday agreed to examine whether corporations are “persons” for another reason: that is, whether they are entitled, under federal law, to “personal privacy” protecting from disclosure corporate information that is in the files of federal government agencies. The case, a test of a section of the Freedom of Information Act shielding records from disclosure if they involved “personal privacy,” is Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T Inc., et al. (09-1279). Justice Kagan is recused from the case.

Database creator appeals for counties’ land records


Author: Meghan Molloy, Kennebec Journal, November 11, 2009

Source: Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

A Cumberland-based business owner who intends to create a statewide database of land records has gone to court in an effort to compel 13 Maine counties to provide the records he needs.

John Simpson, owner and general manager of MacImage of Maine LLC, said he filed 13 appeals after being denied access or not getting timely responses to Freedom of Access Act requests for the records.  …

Devlin was a witness in a case involving MacImage and Hancock County after Simpson’s company alleged that the county violated the Freedom of Access Act by not allowing MacImage to obtain the records at a reasonable fee, which was determined to be the cost of printing electronic files.

A judge in Cumberland County Superior Court ruled in favor of MacImage on Sept. 1.

For full text of the article, visit: http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=295447&ac=PHnws


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