100Reporters LLC v. DOJ, No. 14-1264, 2014 WL 6817009 (D.D.C. Dec. 3, 2014) (Contreras, J.)
Re: Request for compliance monitoring program established by Siemens Aktiengesellschaft in connection with plea agreements in 2008 for violations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Disposition: Granting two third parties' motion to intervene
- Litigation Considerations: The court grants the motions to intervene. First, the court finds that both Siemens and the Monitor of the plea agreement submitted a timely motion to intervene. Second, the court finds "that Siemens possesses a clear interest in the subject of this action because [plaintiff] has requested that the DOJ release materials relating to the Siemens monitorship that very likely contain Siemens's confidential and proprietary information, including sensitive commercial information about Siemens's compliance programs, business operations, and internal controls." Similarly, the court finds that "[d]espite [plaintiff's] criticism, the Court is satisfied that the Monitor has a proper interest in the subject of this action" because "the submitter of documents to a government agency has a cognizable interest in maintaining the confidentiality of those documents that is sufficient under Rule 24(a)." Additionally, the court explains that it "need not determine at this time whether Exemption 4 actually does prevent the release of the Monitor's reports and communications in order to find that the Monitor has an interest under Rule 24(a)." Third, "the Court finds that Siemens's [and the Monitor's] interests potentially could be impaired if the materials sought by [plaintiff] are released." Fourth, the court finds that "the DOJ has neither the incentives nor the information necessary to represent fully Siemens's [or the Monitor's] commercial and competitive interests during this FOIA litigation."
The court then addresses the question of ripeness for Siemens's and "rejects [plaintiff's] ripeness challenge" because, "[t]hough the DOJ may continue to develop its legal arguments against disclosure and further refine the document universe, the essential facts of this case are settled, well-defined, and fit for judicial review." Additionally, regarding Siemens's standing, the court finds that "[w]hen, as here, it is clear that the FOIA requestor seeks the release of documents that are likely to contain the intervenor's confidential information, the intervenor's injury is both particularized and sufficiently imminent." The court finds for similar reasons that the Monitor's claim is ripe and that the Monitor has standing to intervene.
Last, "the Court denies [plaintiff's] request to impose limitations on any intervenor at this time." The court explains that "[plaintiff] fails to offer any concrete or realistic consequences to this litigation from Siemens's (or the Monitor's) intervention that might require the Court to impose a limitation on the scope of the defenses that an intervenor may raise as this case, which still is in its infancy, proceeds to the merits."