Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The ACCG, IAPN and PNG FOIA Case: Opinion Delivered

The long-running FOIA related case (Civil Case No. 07-2074 RJL) brought against the US Department of State (Defendant) by the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG), the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN), and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) (Plaintiffs) appears to be drawing to a conclusion. On Friday last week (November 20, 2009) Judge Richard J. Leon delivered his opinion [download here].
... the State Department has established that it conducted a reasonable search, that it properly withheld the disputed information under FOIA exemptions, and that it complied with its obligation to segregate the exempted material from non-exempted material. The Court will therefore GRANT the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment and DENY the plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.
I notice that one of the FOIA requests included: "Count IV: documents evidencing the potential inclusion of coins on the list of items subject to import restrictions with Italy".

This means that only one week before this conclusion, the representative of the IAPN and the PNG was presenting the issue of coins to CPAC as part of the review of the MOU with Italy. The ACCG also issued a press release in the wake of the CPAC meeting attacking the AIA. Indeed only today, in spite of knowing the decision of of Judge Leon, Wayne Sayles ("Symbiosis Lost and Nuance in New York", Coinlink November 24, 2009) of the ACCG could write:
The die is cast, I fear, and the present struggle will continue until archaeology has established its dominance or private collecting its independence. I would predict that neither will happen soon nor without considerable animosity and a terrible loss of opportunity.
Sayles' position is hardly in keeping with the outcome of the FOIA request.

I suspect that the plaintiffs will be mounting an appeal but it is surprising that they have been unusually quiet on the decision.

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5 comments:

Wayne G. Sayles said...

"Indeed only today, in spite of knowing the decision of of Judge Leon, Wayne Sayles ("Symbiosis Lost and Nuance in New York", Coinlink November 24, 2009) of the ACCG could write:
The die is cast, I fear, and the present struggle will continue until archaeology has established its dominance or private collecting its independence. I would predict that neither will happen soon nor without considerable animosity and a terrible loss of opportunity."


David;

I certainly hope your academic research is better than your blog research :-) The two articles that you cited from CoinLink (and claim that I wrote with knowledge of the FOIA decision) were published in my own blog on November 16th and 17th, four days before the FOIA decision was rendered. At the end of the day, all that I said in those articles remains valid. The FOIA suit was never about the conflict between archaeologists and collectors.

Regards,

Wayne

David Gill said...

Wayne
Thank you for your comment. Did you submit the article to CoinLink? The CoinLink piece (even if it recycled older material) did appear subsequent to the decision.
Best wishes
David

Wayne G. Sayles said...

David;

In response to your question: No, I did not "submit" the article(s). CoinLink, as its name implies, links to numismatic related articles from a variety of sources that the owner/webmaster sees as relevant. In this case, my blog posts (2 combined into one) were picked up by CoinLink a few days after they were published, which apparently created some confusion at your end. To be perfectly clear and transparent, I have given CoinLink (and others) blanket permission to use any of my blog posts that they deem appropriate. I do not, however, have any editorial control nor other interests in CoinLink.

My thoughts did precede, and were published prior to, the ruling—not that it really makes any difference. What I responded to here was the "in spite of..." aspersion that was cast in your previous comment. You did, perhaps innocently, jump to a faulty conclusion without ascertaining the facts.

Tomorrow is a uniquely American holiday, but I do wish a good day to all of your readers and a Happy Thanksgiving to those in America. Many of us are very thankful that private collecting of antiquities is still a legitimate activity within the United States.

Regards,

Wayne

David Gill said...

Wayne
A Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
Best wishes
David

Wayne G. Sayles said...

David;

Thank you for sticking pretty much to the facts in your PR Newswire release. It was an odd case in that the judgment went in favor of DOS, but we got a ton of information that DOS had denied us for years. It's hard to call it a loss (though we certainly would have enjoyed a judgment in our favor). Any appeal would probably be focussed on a relatively narrow topical area.

Thanksgiving was great, but now I'll have to work overtime to burn the extra calories :-)

Regards,

Wayne

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