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This article is part of a series on Litigation


In the event that an agency 1) does not respond to your FOIA request or appeal in a timely manner or 2) has responded to your FOIA appeal and notified you of your right to sue, you have the ability to sue the agency in district court.

A complaint is the initiating document in a civil lawsuit that sets forth alleged facts showing the Plaintiff is entitled to relief. A complaint can be filed within the district of the requester, the district where the records are located, or the District of Columbia. The U.S. Courts have a "Federal Court Finder" that allows individuals to find where the nearest district court is. In addition to the Complaint, you will need to pay a filing fee and include any additional case initiating documents the Court requires. Each U.S. District Court has a website, and most include a section for unrepresented or "pro se" litigants, which includes information such as what you need to bring with you to file a lawsuit. It is important to make sure that the agency has indeed lapsed on the request or that you have exhausted your remedies before bringing a lawsuit, because failure to do so can lead to dismissal.


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Recent district court cases regarding failure to state a claim

Recent district court cases regarding this topic from TRAC's FOIA Project. Visit their issue search page for more options.

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