Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) Law and Lawyers
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Freedom of Information Act Lawyers are recognized as leaders
in one of the most dynamic and important vehicles available to
companies, businesses and individuals.
Our Freedom of Information Act attorneys have pioneered FOIA inquiries and litigation designed to assist Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, non-profits and private individuals in obtaining a wealth of information related to their personal and business interests. Under the Freedom of Information Act and related State Data Privacy Acts, our attorneys may help you unlock resources that lead to a wealth of relevant data and information from federal, state and local governments.
as well as
state and local public records. We have successfully litigated
cases against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation and many state and Federal Agencies
have also represented Companies with government contracts in order to
preserve their proprietary business information - including client lists
and price lists - against Freedom of Information Requests designed to
erode the business' commercial advantage.
We assist in formulating inquiries under the Freedom of
Information Act. When the government is reluctant to provide records
under the FOIA laws, we negotiate resolutions and, where that is not possible, we file a legal action to seek declaratory
relief that requires government agencies to make the requested records
available for inspection. This may include administrative appeals or FOIA
Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act may assist
investors in determining what corporations may be under investigation by
government agencies. Records obtained under the Freedom of
information Act may assist independent researchers or businesses making
risk assessments. The use of a FOIA request is as broad as the
government agencies it encompasses.
WHAT IS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA)
The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”),
is a law that was created to allow for an informed citizenry.
Specifically, it allows members of the public to acquire
records maintained by the government including executive agencies.
One of the particular benefits of the law is that it allows individuals
or businesses to acquire their own records from these agencies. Each state
has followed suit with a similar state law that allows individuals and
businesses to access state records.
Despite the seemingly broad scope of these laws,
acquiring records is not always easy. Government agencies are
extremely reluctant to turn over records and may find many vehicles to
attempt to avoid turning over their records. There are nine basic
exceptions for turning over records under FOIA that are often abused by
government agencies. Those exemptions are extremely broad and available
for interpretation. As a result, it is often necessary to negotiate with
government agencies for disclosures under the Freedom of Information
Act. When negotiation fails, litigation may be necessary.
For example, just a few of the more complicated exemptions include:
Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it
was directly or indirectly supplied to the public authority by, or
relates to certain enumerated government bodies (generally relating
to security matters).
Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act
would, or would be likely to, prejudice certain enumerated
Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant through
Information is exempt information if-
- the information is held by the public authority with a view to
its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some
future date (whether determined or not),
- the information was already held with a view to such
publication at the time when the request for information was
- it is reasonable in all the circumstances that
the information should be withheld from disclosure until the
dates specified in FOIA.
HOW WE CAN HELP
When making an FOIA or state related request for information,
specificity is important. Our lawyers will assist you to:
- Identify the target agencies
- Plan your FOIA Request
- Ask Informally before Invoking the Law
- Write to the Head of the Agency
- Limit Pre-Authorized Costs
- Request a Waiver of Fees, If Applicable
- Anticipate Delays, Delays and More Delays
Answer Questions and Document Everything
- Pursue Your Request Despite Exemption Claims
- Take advantage of FOIA's Appeal Procedures
- Consider Filing a Lawsuit
Contact a lawyer or attorney specializing in the FOIA to assist you.