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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Local Government "Parking" Public Documents at Their Contracted Lawyer's Office

    I am involved with a FOIA request denial that has gone crazy. I requested a document and the government agency admits that it exists but is in the possession of their attorney. They are refusing to disclose it as they claim that they are unable to as the attorney physically has it. As it stands, they are parking documents that contain sketchy information with their attorney to keep them out of public view. Other documents related to the matter were requested under FOIA and were provided without grief. None of this is exempt under "Attorney work product" or "Attorney-client privilege".

    I have put all details AND actual documents on a google website here: https://sites.google.com/site/foiacoverup/

    I am working without legal assistance (pro per) as I cannot afford any. If you can provide any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Per the state FOIA law, the State of Michigan awards legal fees and expenses when the plaintiff prevails. When it is determined that the defendant has acted arbitrarily and capriciously, an automatic award of $500 is ordered.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,276

    Default Re: Local Government "Parking" Public Documents at Their Contracted Lawyers Office

    You think YOU got it bad....I'm in CT.. I too filed a foia request in SEP 11.

    I only wish I could be in front of a judge pleading my case. My state has an idiotic "FOIA commission" that you appeal to; instead of your process of appealing to the agency you asked the docs from. Then if not happy, to a judge.

    So I am stuck in our foia commission & have been since OCT 11.

    Its the most screwed up system. And they are claiming the same thing: its in the hands of a lawyer ... but in my case its in the hands of another agency that does not represent the agency I am requesting from .. (its a reviewing agency to make sure that the exemptions are proper--so they are an adversary to the agency I requested documents from) ...but they have copies ....

    Now, no more ranting about my issues, onto your docs .....

    I think it is improper to ask for $$$ in an answer -- must be in a counterclaim --- so Motion to strike the costs on that aspect
    And if they wish a dismissal then this needs to be a separate pleading ?--- and a dismissal needs to be filed BEFORE an answer? -- so include this in your motion to strike if so

    AND they just made all the reasons for granting a dismissal or summary judgment an affirmative defense (hahaha ... they just made themselves needing to prove their points---not too bad considering they need to prove their points with a foia request) --- I would leave the affirmative defenses alone or you could attack them in a motion to strike .. that's something for you to decide....if stricken, are they "off the table" anymore? Sometimes yes, sometimes no ...

    So, I would file a motion to strike the last paragraph of their answer as being legally insufficient at least. Attny fees also need statutory authority to charge? (is there one for them?)

    So you need to file a motion to strike I would think ...

    Don't forget to respond to their affirmative defenses if you don't want to try to strike them. One argument I would make is that all 4 are simple legal conclusions and are vague and do not plead facts or apprise you of anything (IL is a fact pleading state).

    You'll need to do a memo of law in support of your motion to strike, whatever it may ask to strike...see it this tolls the time needed to reply to their affirmative defenses (if you don't reply to them via response to affirmative defenses then it may kill your case ... chk this out).

    So I think you have some google scholar research to do ... I think you need to file a motion to strike, for sure.

    Quote Quoting FOIAfreedom
    View Post
    I am involved with a FOIA request denial that has gone crazy. I requested a document and the government agency admits that it exists but is in the possession of their attorney. They are refusing to disclose it as they claim that they are unable to as the attorney physically has it. As it stands, they are parking documents that contain sketchy information with their attorney to keep them out of public view. Other documents related to the matter were requested under FOIA and were provided without grief. None of this is exempt under "Attorney work product" or "Attorney-client privilege".

    I have put all details AND actual documents on a google website here: https://sites.google.com/site/foiacoverup/

    I am working without legal assistance (pro per) as I cannot afford any. If you can provide any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Per the state FOIA law, the State of Michigan awards legal fees and expenses when the plaintiff prevails. When it is determined that the defendant has acted arbitrarily and capriciously, an automatic award of $500 is ordered.

    With the reply brief ... expected in the future ... the documents not being "in possession" are being held in their attny's place. I think that this is "in possession" myself. Definitely in their control. Does not matter where they are stored .. its their property, not the lawyer's.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    75,926

    Default Re: Local Government "Parking" Public Documents at Their Contracted Lawyer's Office

    If you have filed your FOIA lawsuit, you'll have your day in court. If your case is valid, don't be surprised if you're handed the document on your way into court, with the government agency then arguing to the court that the case is moot and should be dismissed. I'm not going to download your documents to comment on them or the response; with no offense to you personally, I am wary of downloading documents posted by people I don't know.

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