Summary Judgment Brief Filed Over FOIA Fees

On behalf of the nation's oldest and most prominent auto safety organization - the Center for Auto Safety - we recently filed for summary judgment in a suit challenging the Treasury Department's decision to demand exorbitant fees before it would produce emails under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The Center, the driving force behind the widespread adoption of lemon laws and major recalls of defective cars, seeks government email correspondence that would shed light on the government-led, taxpayer-financed restructuring of the two automotive giants, Chrysler and GM, which left personal injury victims without any recourse for injuries resulting from defective automobiles against the "New Chrysler" and "New GM." Rather than simply providing the Center with a disc containing the electronic documents or granting the Center a "public interest" waiver of duplication fees as provided by FOIA, the government denied access to the Center by assessing photocopying fees in excess of $33,000 for paper copies of the records. Our brief argues that because the government's position creates an unlawful barrier to access under FOIA, the court should order the government to provide all of the responsive documents to the Center without charge.