Susan McGuire Smith
Susan McGuire Smith spent most of her federal legal career with NASA, serving as Chief Counsel at Marshall Space Flight Center for 14 years. Her expertise is in government contracts, ethics, and personnel law.
Here is yet another case in which a court has taken issue with an agency’s withholding of information in response to a FOIA request. This time it’s the Department of Justice—the agency responsible for “overseeing” how the government is handling its disclosure obligations.
Incidents of anger, outbursts and threats in the workplace lead the agency to suspend then fire a long-standing employee.
A PhD candidate at University of Virginia fought back when the Defense Department ruled she did not qualify for the education reduced fee exemption under the FOIA and therefore would have to pay the full $900 due in fees for the agency’s efforts. She won at the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She not only gets the reduced fee, her case sets a precedent that should affect how all agencies handle FOIA requests from students in the future.
A Federal appeals court has ruled that an agency head’s email records that are stored on a private, non-government server are nevertheless official agency records reachable by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The appeals court agrees with the Merit Systems Protection Board that just because an HR Specialist had access to confidential personnel databases and was labeled a manager by her agency does not mean that she was in a management position or one that otherwise gave the Board jurisdiction over her adverse action (demotion) appeal.