Animal Legal Defense Fund v. FDA, No. C-12-04376, 2013 WL 4511936 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 23, 2013) (Laporte, Chief Magistrate J.)

Friday, August 23, 2013
Re: Request for records concerning egg production farm Disposition: Granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in part and denying in part
  • Exemption 4:  The court concludes that defendant "has shown a likelihood of substantial competitive harm due to underbidding for at least some of the redacted information."  Defendants redacted information concerning "(1) total hen population; (2) number of hen houses; (3) number of floors per house; (4) number of cage rows per house; (5) number of cage tiers per house; and (6) the number of birds per cage."  The court finds "that competitors can acquire or accurately estimate other pieces of information to combine with the totality of the redacted information to cause competitive harm."  The court opines that "[w]hile Plaintiff is correct that other information beyond the redacted information is needed to undercut competitors, Defendant has shown that such other information can be estimated from other publicly available sources, so competitors could obtain the information that Plaintiff’s expert says is needed to combine with the redacted information" in order to cause competitive harm.  The court, however, is not persuaded that "releasing the number of birds per cage alone" would also competitive harm and accordingly holds that "although most of the information was properly withheld under Exemption 4 . . .  public disclosure of the number of birds per cage would not likely cause substantial competitive harm."
District Court
Exemption 4
Updated August 6, 2014