On June 25, Orly Taitz (DBA Defend Our Freedoms Foundation) filed suit in Maryland federal court against Carolyn Colvin, the current Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. It’s a lawsuit involving a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the Social Security application of one Harry Bounel, born in 1890. Taitz thinks that the social-security number used by President Obama really belongs to Bounel.
Taitz is not licensed to represent anyone else in Maryland, but she can represent herself. Why Maryland? She can file in Maryland, the closest district to where the records are kept; she could file in the District of Columbia where she already filed and lost a FOIA lawsuit; she could file at home in California, a lore logical choice. A summons was issued to the Commissioner on July 9.
The Amended Complaint (see below), while 36 pages in length, is skimpy on details. Most of the Complaint consists of lengthy and unnecessary regurgitations of federal statutes, regulations and reprints of federal web sites. The gist of Taitz’ claim is that she made a FOIA request for Bounel’s SS-5 form, to which she is entitled if it exists because the request is for someone older than 120 years, and SSA hasn’t responded.
The blatant omission from the Complaint is the specific text of what Taitz requested. We’re left with Taitz’ characterization of her April 26 request:
Plaintiff sought SS-5, Social Security application for three individuals, among them Harrison J. Bounel, born in 1890.
My recollection is that if the agency does not respond within 20 days, there is a presumption that the request has not been honored and all administrative remedies have been exhausted. That means Taitz can sue. The 20-day response is not the return of the requested material, but an acknowledgment of the request with a determination of whether the Agency will search for the information, or that the request is improper.
I know from bitter experience that some federal agencies sometimes do not respond within the time limits of the statute. (I did get an SS-5 from the Social Security Administration rather quickly.) If the facts are as Taitz alleges and the law is as I understand it, then she has a right to sue. That, however, doesn’t mean that there will be a quick resolution, that Taitz is entitled to the records she seeks (it really depends on precisely how her request was worded), that the records she seeks even exist, or that there is anything helpful to Taitz in the files of the Social Security Administration.
Here’s the complaint (not recommended for reader consideration):