The Supreme Court’s 8-0 decision in Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T, Inc., No. 09-1279 (Mar. 1, 2011) [pdf], closes the door on corporate use of the personal privacy provision in FOIA Exemption 7(C).
It’s a common assumption in litigation under the Freedom of Information Act that trade secrets lose value with the passage of time. The January 19, 2011 decision in Taylor v. Babbitt, No 03-0173-RMU (D.D.C. Jan. 19, 2011), shows there’s much more to the story. The case involved a 2002 FOIA request seeking “plans, blueprints, specifications, engineering drawings and data” submitted to the government in 1935 in support of a type certificate application for the Fairchild F-45. After a harrowing ride through the court system, including a trip to the Supreme Court, United States District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered the government to produce the 75-year-old documents.
Continue Reading FOIA trade secrets exemption unavailable for 75-year-old aircraft design
Executive compensation disclosures. Opening FAPIIS to the public. While there are good arguments for both sides about the wisdom of these new contractor transparency initiatives, it is interesting to note that they seem to conflict with recent court decisions supporting contractor efforts to limit the public availability of their data.
Continue Reading Do federal contractor transparency initiatives conflict with FOIA caselaw?