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The Supreme Court Designates Parameters for Confidential Information Exception Under FOIA

The Supreme Court recently determined that a showing of “competitive harm” is not required to establish the confidentiality of business information and avoid Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disclosure under FOIA Exemption 4. The reversal of an Eighth Circuit opinion also confirmed parameters that businesses should follow when submitting sensitive information to the government. In the case of Food Mkt., Inst. v. Argus Leader Media, 139 S. Ct. 2356 (2019), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was sued by a newspaper after it refused to turn over requested data, claiming it was exempted from FOIA under Exception 4 as confidential or trade secret material. Although the Eighth Circuit found that “competitive harm” needed to be demonstrated, the Supreme Court reversed that decision.

 

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Post By Ken Shafton (1,158 Posts)