Private Address Forwarding: Legal action
US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit FOIA appeal (Case # 14-1005)
2014-03-06: I filed a supplement to my IFP seal motion to more precisely explain what I am seeking to seal and the question it raises.
2014-03-03: USPS filed a reply to my opposition to their motion for dismiss. I filed a counter-response (or "surreply" in legalese), motion to supplement the record (and attachment), and request for permission to do those.
The USPS misrepresented my original response as objecting to the timeliness of their motion to dismiss (technically it was untimely, but I didn't take issue with that). Their lawyer says that he didn't file the record on time, ask for an extension, or ask for dismissal … because he thought the court would dismiss the case on its own and so he didn't need to bother responding. We'll see how well that excuse flies.
They claimed that they're not subject to review under the Administrative Procedure Act.
They also argued that, if the court doesn't have jurisdiction (though I argue it does), the court should dismiss the case rather than simply transferring it to the district court.
My counter-response pointed out that I was objecting to their failure to file the record on time (which has further delayed this case); that their claim that I don't have an APA case is contradicted by the paragraph right after the one they cited which has nothing to do with this case; and that even if I did file in the wrong court, it's in the interest of justice (and the court's precedent) to transfer the case to the district court rather than dismissing it altogether and making me re-file.
I also decided to cure the USPS' failure to file the record by filing it for them.
2014-02-25: I filed a motion that the court declare that the USPS failed to comply with FRAP 17 and order them to do so. USPS changed their lawyer and asked the court to dismiss my case for lack of jurisdiction (amended). I responded.
The USPS claims that the court of appeals doesn't have jurisdiction to hear this case initially; I claim that it does, because this is a review of an agency decision. I also claim that the basis for the USPS' refusal to give me a public interest fee waiver is in itself unlawful and reviewable by the court — and that regardless, they failed to timely comply with the rule requiring them to submit the record to the court.
I asked that if the court does find it lacks jurisdiction, it move the case to the district court rather than dismissing it altogether.
2014-02-22: USPS was required to file the administrative record, per FRAP 17(a). They didn't.
The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (FRAP) say that in a review of an agency decision (like here), the agency is required to give the court the administrative record within 40 days of when they were notified of the petition for review.
2014-01-29: I was granted CM/ECF access.
2014-01-13: The appeals court clerk served USPS with my petition for review.
2014-01-07: My IFP seal motion was filed.
2014-01-04: I filed a petition for review, request to use electronic filing, and a request to file a request to proceed in forma pauperis ex parte and under seal with the US Court of Appals for the DC Circuit.
A "Petition for Review" is how you initiate a case in appeals court (equivalent to a civil Notice of Appeal). It just says "I'm appealing X"; the actual brief (with formal argument etc) is due 40 days later, though the court might order some preliminary documents earlier.
The USPS both violated the FOIA's strict 20 working day normal response requirement, 10 day expedited processing response requirement, and also improperly denied my FOIA request on administrative appeal when it did respond.
Since I'm working without any real salary right now (bootstrapping Make Your Laws), I asked to be allowed to avoid the $500 filing fee, but also that when doing so I not have to publicly disclose my personal finances, social security #, etc.
- 2013-10-18: I filed a FOIA request (2014-FPRO-00057) for documents relating to the USPS' previous PAF-like products.
- 2013-11-06: The USPS responded to my FOIA request, saying that just the search would cost "at minimum" $832, plus 10¢/page over 100 pages for "duplication". They did not respond (as required) to my public interest and processing exemption requests, nor my request for electronic documents only.
- 2013-11-23: I responded to the USPS denial of my FOIA request, asking them to make the determinations they have to by law.
- 2013-11-25: The USPS vacillated; I reiterated & filed administrative appeal.
- 2013-11-28: The USPS acknowledged my response.
- 2013-12-12: The USPS issued a final determination refusing to grant expedited processing or public interest waivers.
- 2014-01-04: Because time is running out to do so — enough that I might not get a PRC subpoena before the 30 day appeal deadline runs out — I filed suit against the USPS for their denial of my FOIA (and previous improper and untimely responses) in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.