If you are involved in litigation and need to obtain official information, such as documents or testimony, from a Government agency or department, you may need to submit “Touhy Requests” to that particular agency or department. Named after the Supreme Court case, United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462, 468 (1951), a Touhy Request is the procedural vehicle for obtaining Government information needed for litigation purposes when the Government is not actually a party to the lawsuit. These requests are similar to subpoenas which would normally be sent to a non-party witness, but Touhy Requests can generally be sent to the appropriate agency in the form of a detailed letter, clearly articulating the information sought.
Common agencies which may be subject to Touhy Requests include the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Defense (DOD), or branches of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), such as the Social Security Administration (SSA), or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), just to name a few. The standards and guidelines for what can be requested from each of these agencies (and what these agencies should look for in granting or denying such requests) are governed by various provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations. Requests to different agencies call for different specific information to be submitted.