Touhy Requests

Subpoenas and other requests for official information for litigation purposes. Please review the following prior to submitting your request. A misdirected or incorrectly filed request will delay the response to your inquiry. For additional information, please call 202-685-5450.

The release of official information, both written and verbal, for litigation purposes, is controlled by Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 5405.2 [32 C.F.R. pt 97] and Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5820.8A [32 C.F.R. pt 725].

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Official Information?

All information of any kind, however stored, in the custody and control of DOD or its components, including Department of the Navy (DON); relating to information in the custody and control of DOD or its components; or acquired by DOD personnel (includes all present and former DON civilian, contractors, and military personnel) or DOD component personnel as part of their official duties, or because of their official status within DOD or its components, while such personnel were employed by or on behalf of DOD or on active duty with the United States Armed Forces.

How do I make a request?

Your request must be in writing and include the following:

  • A statement that the United States is, or is not, reasonably anticipated to be a party;
  • The name, address, telephone and fax numbers of counsel for each party;
  • If Privacy Act or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protected information is requested (i.e., medical, pay, or military service information), personal authorization for release from the subject of the documents or a judge-signed subpoena or judge-signed court order.
    • Personal authorization for release
      • An alternative to a subpoena/court-order is to obtain written consent or authorization for the release of the records signed by the subject of the records.
      • For official military personnel or medical records, please use [SF-180] in order to determine the appropriate office to send the request.
      • For Active Duty Navy, Marine Corps, Retired/Annuitant Pay, Garnishment, Civilian payroll, and other Agency reports, vouchers, etc., please visit Defense Finance and Accounting Services.
      • For Veteran's Affairs records, please visit U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.
    • Judge-signed subpoena/court-order
      • Information containing personally identifying information is protected. from disclosure to third parties under the Privacy Act (PA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a. Under case law interpreting 5 U.S.C.§552a(b)(11) (release under the order of a court of competent jurisdiction), a subpoena or court-order signed by the judge who has cognizance over the case is required to obtain the release of the records. A subpoena or order signed by an attorney or clerk, i.e. someone other than the judge of a court of competent jurisdiction (Federal or State court), does not meet the requirement for a valid court order. See Doe v. DiGenova, 779 F.2d 74 (D. C. Cir. 1985).
  • A summary of the facts of the case and the present posture of the case, including the name of the court where the case is pending and its court-assigned case number;
  • A statement of the relevance of the matters sought to the proceedings at issue;
  • A description, in as much detail as possible, of the documents, information, or the expected testimony sought;
  • The date and time when the documents, information, or testimony sought must be produced; the requested location for production; and, if applicable, the estimated length of time that attendance of the witness will be required;
  • The location of the records, including name, address, and telephone number, if known, of the person from whom the documents, information, or testimony is sought;
  • A statement of requester's willingness to pay in advance for all reasonable expenses and costs of searching for and producing documents;
  • A statement of understanding that the production of the witness, if applicable, will be at no expense to the Government or the witness and that travel expenses, if any, are the responsibility of the requester. An agreement to provide, free of charge to the witness, a copy of the deposition transcript with an opportunity to read, sign, and correct the deposition at no cost to the witness or the Government;
  • An agreement to notify the determining authority sufficiently in advance of all testimony, normally a minimum of at least 10 days;
  • A statement whether factual, opinion, or expert testimony is requested, if any testimony is sought. If expert or opinion testimony is sought, you must provide a written explanation of why exceptional need or unique circumstances exist justifying such testimony, including why such testimony is not reasonably available from any other source; and
    • Factual testimony includes:
      • Accounts from a percipient witness.
      • Manner in which after-the-event investigation was conducted and factual conclusions in an investigation.
      • Opinions formed prior to or contemporaneously with the matter in issue and routinely required in the course of the proper performance of an individual's professional duties.
      • Testimony by a treating physician called to testify about his/her personal knowledge of a specific case.
    • Expert testimony includes:
      • Asking to adopt, reaffirm findings of fact, opinions and recommendations.
      • Form or express an opinion based upon matters submitted by counsel.
      • Speculating as to the ultimate issue of causation of liability
      • Opinions formed after the event, including responses to hypotheticals.
  • A statement of understanding that the United States reserves the right to have a representative at the trial/deposition.

Where do I submit my request?

The Secretary of the Navy’s sole delegate for service of process (32 C.F.R. § 257.5(c))

General Counsel of the Navy
Navy Litigation Office
720 Kennon Street SE
Bldg 36 Room 233
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5013.

What if I am a member of law enforcement?

If you are a member of an agency or unit of Federal, State or local government needing information for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity, please provide a letter from the head of the agency, specifying the particular information desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought (5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(7)). These regulations do not apply to release of information to:

  • Department of Justice (DOJ) conducting litigation on behalf of the U.S.
  • Federal, state, and local prosecuting and law enforcement authorities, in conjunction with an investigation conducted by a DOD component or DON criminal investigative organization.