By: Jenie Mallari-Torres
A Harvard law project is suing the United States Department of Justice, citing alleged breach of duty.
The Project on Predatory Student Lending of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School filed a complaint on Dec. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against the United States Department of Justice for alleged violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
According to the complaint, in June 2016 the Project on Predatory Student Lending of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act to defendant seeking documents produced for the government in discovery in its lawsuit against Education Management.
However, plaintiff claims months have passed — long after its statutory deadline for responding to its request had expired — and defendant has refused to produce any documents, offering a series of conflicting reasons as to why it was withholding the documents.
The plaintiff holds the United States Department of Justice responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to make a determination with respect to the FOIA request within the applicable time limit and failed to release responsible, non-exempt records.
The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks an order to conduct a reasonable search for records and promptly produce records; grant of full fee waiver to the Project, award of costs, attorneys’ fees and such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper. They are represented by Eileen Connor, Toby Merrill and Stephen Emedi of the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 18-1642.