Service and Answers

Provided by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
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Introduction

After a complaint is filed in a federal district court, it and other material are required to be served on the government. The date of the government's answer to a FOIA complaint is based off of the date service is completed.

Service

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a FOIA plaintiff must serve the complaint and a summons signed and stamped by the court clerk on several entities.[1] In most cases, this means the plaintiff must:[2]

  1. Send a copy of the complaint and the relevant signed and stamped summons by registered or certified mail to the civil-process clerk at the United States attorney's office;
  2. Send a copy of the complaint and the relevant signed and stamped summons by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General of the United States at Washington, D.C.; and
  3. Send a copy of the complaint and the relevant signed and stamped summons by registered or certified mail to the agency.

Addresses of governmental entities

U.S. Attorney General

The U.S. Attorney General is located at:[3]

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530

U.S. Attorney for DC

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is located at:[4]

555 Fourth Street, NW

Washington, DC 20530 (for mail delivery)

Answer

A defendant agency must file an answer within 30 days of service.[5]

References

  1. FRCP 4(i), https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_4
  2. FRCP 4(i)(1)-(2), https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/rule_4
  3. http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/sites/dcd/files/ProSeNON-PRISONERManual.pdf, page 8
  4. http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/sites/dcd/files/ProSeNON-PRISONERManual.pdf, page 8
  5. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(C),Text_of_the_FOIA#Section552(a)(4)