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Sept 24, 2013

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HUD FOIA Case Put Off For Inauguration As Rule on Housing Eligibility May Die Sine Die

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 24 –  The Legal Aid Society, represented by the Winston & Strawn law firm, has sued the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under FOIA in March. On July 16 U.S. District for the Southern District of New York Judge Lewis J. Liman held another conference on the case; Inner City Press covered it. 

 Now on November 24 the case has been adjourned "sine die" because the underlying rule may die. There was a proceeding on November 24 and Inner City Press covered it. Reference was made to the Presidential inauguration being less than 50 days off. Judge Liman apologized for not getting into the docket endorsement of the adjournment, and took the opportunity to wish Happy Thanksgiving and safety. How many other cases will be adjourned like this?

  That FOIA request concerns a HUD rule limiting eligibility to housing based on immigration status of family members. The requesters want to know who worked on the rule.

  In another FOIA case against HUD handled by Judge Liman, PRLDEF now LatinoJustice is seeking documents about the disproportionate impact of the "Verification of Eligible Status Rule." Judge Liman held a proceeding on July 28 and Inner City Press covered it. A meet and confer had released a few documents, but HUD still disputes a fee waiver.

Judge Liman asked how LatinoJustice plans to disseminate documents to the public. The response was, El Diario, Huffington Post, even the Daily Mail. The next conference was set for August 20. This case is LatinoJustice PRLDEF v. HUD, 20-cv-4859 (Liman).

 On July 16 Judge Liman told the parties to agree to a production schedule by July 27, or to brief the issue. The Government's lead lawyer said she will be on vacation. The the deadline remains, with another conference scheduled for July 31. There were 640 pages in 132 White House documents, minus White House briefing documents.

 On September 25 Judge Liman held another conference with Inner City Press also covered. It came after a dispute arose whether PRLDEF's request for mixed-status family data was a new request not covered by the fee waiver request. Judge Liman inquired in detail, and set a new October 30 date. Inner City Press will continue to follow this case.

Inner City Press as a journalistic FOIA practitioner sees increasing foot dragging by Federal agencies like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, see here. So Judge Liman's approach is needed. The case is Legal Aid Society v. HUD, 20-cv-2283 (Liman). 


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