News & Articles

NEW FOIA CASES --"MATERIAL INTEREST" OF BENEFICIARY

04 / 07 / 2016

Goldstein v. Internal Revenue Service; Goldstein v. TIGTA (March 25, 2016)

Whistleblowers rarely find themselves compelled by their circumstances to file pursuant to FOIA and the Privacy Act to obtain information about them, their files, and factual information pertaining to their whistleblowing activities.  However, if it becomes necessary to do so, practitioners will want to review the decisions reached by Judge Mehta in the District of Columbia.  As the cases pertain to the access and information rights of a beneficiary of a testamentary trust established subsequent to his father's death, practitioners can look to the cases on remand for further guidance on how the IRS is going apply the "material interest" standard when it comes to a limited partnership owned in part by the testamentary trust. Furthermore, the court in the TIGTA case discusses how the law enforcement exemption under FOIA is not triggered merely because documentation pertaining to a whistleblower makes its way into a TIGTA file, as the court indicates that TIGTA is empowered to investigate administrative misconduct as well as pursue law enforcement endeavors.