Extract from Jim Gill’s article “Why eDiscovery Software is the Perfect Solution for FOIA Requests”
As far back as 2013, the Department of Justice has received over 70,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests per year, and this trend continues to rise. By law, all federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within 20 business days, unless there are “unusual circumstances.” If the requests don’t receive a response to according to law, the agency can be sanctioned, as well as those individual employees, “…who are found to have acted arbitrarily or capriciously in improperly withholding records. Additionally, the court must award attorney fees and other litigation costs against the government.”
This puts a lot of pressure on the FOIA personnel assigned to perform all duties related to the processing of these requests: logging, tracking, searching for responsive records, analyzing responsive records for disclosure pursuant to FOIA provisions, applying exemptions to the documents as appropriate, and communicating with the FOIA requestor. These tasks become all the more formidable when trying to manage them with manual processes and basic tools.