Metro’s customer satisfaction survey from early 2018, from which the transit organization concluded that people are having a better experience overall, has now resulted in a lawsuit.
The person, or people, behind the rail advocacy social media personality “Unsuck DC Metro,” has filed suit against WMATA and general manager Paul Wiedefeld on Monday to compel the agency to disclose information about the survey.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the latest salvo in Unsuck DC Metro’s years-long attempt to receive the survey questions. Read the full lawsuit here.
Unsuck DC Metro’s attempts were initially met with an outright denial, citing WMATA’s ability to reject records requests from the public. An appeal was answered with an email stating the agency’s lack of staff needed for a quick reply.
A 29-page document from a different survey was ultimately released, though all but one page was completely redacted.
For its work, Metro sent Unsuck DC Metro a bill of almost $325, with a message saying that if the bill went unpaid, it would not process any pending or future PARP requests.
The hefty bill and the denial of the other requests, seemed to be the last straw, and resulted in the lawsuit.
Metro FINALLY answered my FOIA (PARP) request for the questions on the customer satisfaction survey!!.
— Unsuck DC Metro (@unsuckdcmetro) March 27, 2019
Reminder: A taxpayer-funded institution, Metro, answered my PARP(FOIA) requests for years with no charges. Delays galore, but no charges.
Now, they suddenly are charging me retroactively and refusing any further requests until I pay.
This is not right.#wmata
— Unsuck DC Metro (@unsuckdcmetro) April 3, 2019
The lawsuit recounts the timeline, accuses the agency of violating PARP, calls the $325 fee “unlawful,” the withholding of other documents “unlawful,” notes a number of damages for which there is no “adequate remedy at law,” and concludes that the withholding of information amounts to a violation of Unsuck DC Metro’s First Amendment rights.
The seven-page filing asks that WMATA produce the requested documents, prevent the agency from withholding future documents, and grant Unsuck DC Metro the cost of attorney’s fees, other litigation costs and “such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.”
As the news of the lawsuit came out Monday, a number of the advocate’s followers tweeted their support.
— Ben Weinberg (@BenJWeinberg) April 30, 2019