MFIA Clinic Sues EPA Over Records


On December 4, 2017, Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Freedom of Information Act to require the EPA to regularly disclose a detailed copy of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's daily schedule to the public in its electronic “reading room.” The clinic team, consisting of Allison Douglis ’18 and Delbert Tran ’18, filed the suit on behalf of The New York Times and Eric Lipton, a reporter in the Times’ Washington Bureau. 

The Freedom of Information Act was amended with bipartisan support in 2016 to expand the categories of documents agencies are obligated to proactively release to the general public. “Administrator Pruitt’s daily calendar is a prime example of the types of agency records the 2016 revisions obligate agencies to release, as it is consistently requested under FOIA by journalists and public interest organizations,” said Tran. 

“Administrator Pruitt’s daily calendar provides crucial information to help the public determine who has the ear of the Administrator and assess influences on EPA decisions. The limited calendar information the EPA has already released has been invaluable to investigative reporting on potential conflicts of interest in the EPA,” added Douglis.

MFIA is a student-led clinic at Yale Law School that represents journalists and advocacy groups in accessing essential government information. In addition to Douglis and Tran, the Times and Lipton are represented in this matter by supervising attorneys Charles Sims ’76 and John Langford ’14.