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Courthouse News Service
January 6, 2016

Study Finds Open Records Cases on the Rise
By Kevin Lessmiller

The number of lawsuits filed annually over public records requests reached an all-time high last year, according to a study published Wednesday. Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, released the study as part of its FOIA Project, named after the Freedom of Information Act. Nearly 500 FOIA lawsuits were filed in fiscal year 2015, according to TRAC's analysis. The 498 cases filed last year is an increase of 77 from the previous fiscal year. The 2015 fiscal year ran from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015. During the last 15 years, the U.S. Justice Department has been the most frequent FOIA defendant, named in 1,239 of all 4,999 filings, TRAC says. In the past two fiscal years, 919 FOIA cases were reportedly filed, which is a 54 percent increase over 595 cases in the first two years of President Barack Obama's administration.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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