Description: Lawsuit seeking documents related to errors in global temperature data sets.
Competitive Enterprise Institute v. NASA
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 10/29/2013 Memorandum Opinion Download Memorandum opinion issued granting in part and denying in part NASA's motion for summary judgment. The district court for the District of Columbia granted in part and denied in part NASA’s motion for summary judgment. The court directed NASA to produce responsive documents from a certain directory on the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) computer system, including computer programs and data files that would require a computer program or commercial visualization tool in order to be intelligible. The court also ruled that a GISS scientist’s emails relating to the blog RealClimate, to which he contributed, constituted agency records to the extent that they “traveled” on the NASA email domain and related to agency business, regardless of whether the scientist used his RealClimate or NASA email account. The court otherwise found that the NASA/GISS search for responsive records had been adequate, determining, among other things, that the scientist’s emails located only on an “@columbia.edu” domain were not in the agency’s control and therefore not susceptible to a FOIA request. 05/27/2010 Complaint Complaint filed. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a free market advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against NASA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking documents related to alleged errors in temperature readings and a scientist involved in the so-called “climategate” controversy. The Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), a component of NASA, had revised global temperature data sets after a statistician brought to NASA’s attention an error that he alleged caused the agency to overstate U.S. temperatures from 2000 onward.