People assume that the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) is only useful for journalists and historians trying to uncover government secrets.

But FOIA is also a powerful weapon for lawyers, litigants, and companies involved in civil litigation or disputes. For example, knowing the details about a federal agency’s investigation of your opponent could mean the difference between a strong case and a weak one.

How the FOIA Process Works

FOIA guarantees your right to demand access to any government agency’s records, for any reason.

The FOIA process begins with a letter request to the agency. It is vital to craft the language of the request so it precisely targets the records you want. Attorneys with experience in the FOIA process can help you avoid wasted time due to a poorly drafted request.

In responding to a request, the agency often invokes one or more FOIA “exemptions” that may allow an agency to keep records secret, such as if disclosure would reveal corporate trade secrets.

The requester then has the opportunity to submit a letter appealing the agency’s response, which will be reviewed by the agency’s in-house lawyers. The appeal letter is a chance to persuade the agency’s officials they are violating the law by blocking access to the requested records. Our lawyers can help you prepare the most persuasive appeal letter possible.

If the agency still refuses to produce the records sought, the requester can sue the agency in federal court. This litigation will almost exclusively consist of written legal memoranda. Having lawyers with experience in FOIA law represent you in this process can mean the difference between gaining access to some or all of the records you want, or being denied them as a matter of law.

Frank LLP can Help You use FOIA to Your Advantage

Frank LLP has navigated the FOIA process on numerous occasions in search of evidence concerning companies involved in our cases. When necessary, we have not shied away from litigating if the agency refuses to fulfill its obligations under FOIA to make its records available for inspection.

Frank LLP’s attorneys have made FOIA an important part of our toolkit. If you think that FOIA could help you gain the edge in your case, contact Frank LLP for a free consultation.