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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Cabell County attorney claims U.S. Department of Energy has failed to respond to multiple FOIA requests

Lawsuits

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 16, 2019


HUNTINGTON — A Cabell County attorney is suing the U.S. Department of Energy after he claims it failed to properly respond to a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Jason Leasure claims he sent the department a FOIA request on May 31 seeking files regarding scientific testing data and results that relate to air sampling stations within 10 miles of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

Leasure then claims he sent a second FOIA request on June 3, requesting test results that were performed in the last three years near Zahn's Corner Middle School in Piketon, Ohio, but the defendant never acknowledged receipt of either of the requests. Leasure claims the defendant did not make a determination with regard to his requests in the 20 business-day requirement under federal law.

"In response to a FOIA request, defendant must release any disclosable records in its possession at the time of the request and provide a lawful reason for withholding any materials as to which they claim an exemption," the complaint states.

The defendant is an agency subject to FOIA and Leasure claims he made proper FOIA requests to the department. Leasure claims the department has violated FOIA by failing to produce or provide a valid reason for not producing the records he requested. He claims he has exhausted all administrative remedies with respect to the FOIA requests.

Leasure is seeking an order for the defendant to immediately process and release all records involved in the FOIA request; judgment declaring that the defendant's reasons for denying access were a violation of FOIA; and attorney's fees and court costs. 

He is represented by J. Patrick L. Stephens of Underwood Law Offices.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number 3:19-cv-00513

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