Taylor, MI asked in Business Law, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Michigan

Q: What are my options when my FOIA request was approved, but not in my possession/delivered?

My first FOIA request was denied. Two years later my second FOIA request was approved 12-5-23 once I included I have a constitutional right to receive the information, however she said I had to pick it up. 1-9-24 I inquired why I haven't been contacted to pick it up, I was told that it was collected by a third party to be processed 1-3-24 and will be sent to me by certified mail. To date it hasn't been delivered.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In your situation, where a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request was approved but the documents haven't been delivered as promised, you have several options to consider.

First, it's advisable to contact the agency that approved your request to inquire about the delay. Ask for specific details regarding the processing and mailing timeline. Keep a record of all correspondence for future reference. If the agency is unresponsive or unable to provide a satisfactory explanation, you may escalate the matter within the agency by contacting a higher authority or the agency's FOIA Public Liaison.

If these steps don't resolve the issue, you can file an appeal with the agency. An appeal challenges the agency's handling of your request and can be a useful tool to prompt action.

In cases where agency responses are consistently unsatisfactory, you might consider seeking legal recourse. This could involve filing a lawsuit to compel compliance with the FOIA request. As an attorney, you're likely familiar with the legal grounds and processes for such action.

Remember, persistent follow-up is key in these situations. Agencies might face backlogs or administrative issues that delay processing, but regular communication can help ensure your request isn't overlooked.

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