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Landmark Legal Foundation v. Environmental Protection Agency

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20043
Nos. 12-1726, (D.D.C., 03/02/2015) (Lamberth, J.)

A district court denied a conservative nonprofit advocacy group's motion for spoliation sanctions against EPA for its mishandling of the group's FOIA request, but nevertheless scolded the Agency for its conduct. Because the record does not support a finding of punitive spoliation sanctions, the court denied the motion. The court, however, went on to express its discontent with "EPA's continued disregard for its FOIA obligations." According to the court, there are two possible explanations for EPA's actions: either it "intentionally sought to evade" the lawful request so that it could "destroy responsive documents;" or it demonstrated "apathy and carelessness" toward the group. Either way, its actions "surely serve to diminish the public's trust" in the Agency.