You are here

University of Virginia Freedom of Information Act Request

Legal Briefs

Title

University of Virginia Freedom of Information Act Request

May 21, 2010

Ms. Carol Wood Ms. Elizabeth Wilkerson University of Virginia Fontaine Research Park 400 Ray C. Hunt Drive Second Floor P.O. Box 400229 Charlottesville, VA 22904

     BY ELECTRONIC MAIL -- CWood@Virginia.edu, EWilkerson@Virginia.edu 

Dear University FOIA Officers,

On behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI),  a non-profit public policy institute in Washington, DC and pursuant to Virginia's Freedom of Information Act, Title 2.2 of Chapter 37,   §§2.2-3700 et. seq. of the Code of Virginia (“FOIA”), please provide us within the statutorily prescribed time copies of documents meeting the following descriptions:

I.          University Procedures and Practices

  1. Please provide copies of all records, documents, emails, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received, and/or sent by any official or employee of the University of Virginia ("the University") with direct responsibility for implementing or responding under the Virginia FOI Act that in any way reference, publish or relate to:

a) the University's policies, procedures, rules, internal practices, internal guidelines, or internal agency guidance regarding the “Freedom of Information Act" or “FOIA”;

b) how the University manages receipt, handles, processes, or otherwise disposes of “Freedom of Information Act,” or “FOIA” requests; and

c) the University's policies, procedures, rules, practices, internal guidelines, or other applicable guidance regarding management, handling, processing or disposal of emails and other records of faculty -- research, tenured or other -- who leave the University.

II.        University Implementation of the FOI Act

  1. Please provide copies of all records, documents, emails, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received and/or sent by any official or employee of the University of Virginia with direct responsibility for implementing or responding under the Virginia FOI Act that use the following words or phrases: “Freedom of Information Act" or "FOI" or “FOIA”, and the word or phrases "discretion", "unlawful release", "malice", "civil liability", "civil penalty" or "ultra vires";
  1. Please provide copies of all records, documents, emails, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received and/or sent by any official or employee of the University of Virginia that use the following words or phrases: “FOIA,” “FOI,” “Freedom of Information,” “Freedom of Information Act,” and the word or phrases “subpoena,” “court order,” “document preservation,” “document retention,” “contempt,” or “obstruction of justice”;
  1. Please provide copies of the cover letters (only, not responsive documents) sent by the University in response to a Requesting party under  the FOI Act who sought records sent to, received or produced by Michael E. Mann or Patrick J. Michaels;
  1. Please provide copies of all records, documents, emails, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received and/or sent by any official or employee of the University with direct responsibility for implementing or responding under the Virginia FOI Act that use the following words or phrases: “Freedom of Information Act" or "FOI" or “FOIA” or "discretion", and the word or words "Greenpeace", "Polluterwatch" or "Polluter Watch";
  1. Please provide copies of all records, documents, emails, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received and/or sent by any official or employee of the University of Virginia that use the following words or phrases: “Freedom of Information Act" or "FOI" or “FOIA”, and the word "Michaels".

III.       Faculty Records

We understand that, in your capacity as the University of Virginia's FOI Act Officers, you have determined that emails and other records of University academic and research faculty are subject to release under that Act. As such, pursuant to the same authority please also provide us within the statutorily prescribed time copies of documents meeting the following descriptions:

  1. copies of all records, documents, emails, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received and/or sent by William C. Keene, regardless of his employment status with the University at the time the document was sent, received or created, that use any of the following words or phrases: "climate", "global warming", "warming", "Environmental Protection Agency", "EPA", "USEPA", "IPCC", "Obama", "ClimateGate", "East Anglia", "Climatic Research Unit", "CRU", "Greenpeace", "Polluterwatch", "Polluter Watch", "Michaels", “Freedom of Information", "FOI" or “FOIA”;
  1. copies of all records, documents, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received and/or sent by James N. Galloway, regardless of his employment status with the University at the time the document was sent, received or created, that use any of the following words or phrases: "climate", "global warming", "warming", "Environmental Protection Agency", "EPA", "USEPA", "IPCC", "Obama", "ClimateGate", "East Anglia", "Climatic Research Unit", "CRU", "Greenpeace", "Polluterwatch", "Polluter Watch", "Michaels", “Freedom of Information", "FOI" or “FOIA”;
  1. copies of all records, documents, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received and/or sent by Patricia L. Wiberg, regardless of her employment status with the University at the time the document was sent, received or created, that use any of the following words or phrases: "climate", "global warming", "warming", "Environmental Protection Agency", "EPA", "USEPA", "IPCC", "Obama", "ClimateGate", "East Anglia", "Climatic Research Unit", "CRU", "Greenpeace", "Polluterwatch", "Polluter Watch", "Michaels", “Freedom of Information", "FOI" or “FOIA”.

Scope of Request: Period Covered

Documents covered by each Request above will have been sent, received or produced by University office(s) and/or otherwise dated between January 1, 2009 and the date on which you comply with the specific request.

Please identify and inform us of all responsive or potentially responsive documents within the statutorily prescribed time, and the basis of any claimed exemptions or privilege and to which specific responsive or potentially responsive document(s) such objection applies. Further, please inform us of the basis of any partial denials or redactions.

Specifically, if your office takes the position that any portion of the requested records is exempt from disclosure, we request that you provide us with an index of those documents, with sufficient specificity to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under Virginia's FOIA, and describing each document or portion thereof withheld, and for each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information.

In the event that you determine some portions of the requested records are properly exempt from disclosure under any of the Requests above, please disclose any reasonably segregable, non-exempt portions of the requested records. If it is your position that a document contains non-exempt segments and that those non-exempt segments are so dispersed throughout the documents as to make segregation impossible, please state what portion of the document is non-exempt and how the material is dispersed through the document. As you are aware claims of non-segregability should be made with the same detail as required for claims of exemption in an index. If a Request is denied in whole, please state specifically that it is not reasonable to segregate portions of the record for release.

We also ask that you please consider each of the eleven distinct and delineated Requests above severable in that a delay in producing documents in response to one should not be deemed a reason to not compile or produce documents responsive to another and, should the University challenge any specific Request, we also ask that it not cite that as reason for not producing responsive documents responsive to other of the above Requests.

Satisfying the above Requests contemplates providing copies of documents, in electronic format if you possess them as such, otherwise photocopies are acceptable. By this we mean that no delay should be incurred on the basis that the records are held in a particular format and must be transferred as we seek them as held in whatever medium or bearing whatever physical characteristics may be the case.

We certify that all representations made as part of our Request are true and correct to the best of our knowledge and belief.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Christopher C. Horner, Esq.

CHorner@cei.org

Competitive Enterprise Institute 1899 L Street, NW 12th Floor Washington, DC 20036 202.331.2260 Office phone 202.262.4458 Mobile phone