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FOIA Update: Under Advisement

FOIA Update
Vol. VI, No. 4

Under Advisement

The following pending cases involve FOIA issues of significance that are expected to be decided in the near future:

CNA Financial Corp. v. Donovan, No. 81-2169 (D.C. Cir.). Decision Below: 2 GDS ¶ 82,107 (D.D.C. 1981). Issues:  In a "reverse FOIA" context, must the agency utilize a formal hearing to determine whether business-submitted documents should be disclosed? Is the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1905, an Exemption 3 statute under the FOIA? Status:  Argued before the D.C. Circuit on December 8, 1981; still pending after all these years.

Church of Scientology v. IRS, No. 83-1856 (D.C. Cir.). Decision Below:  569 F. Supp. 1165 (D.D.C. 1983). Issue:  Does 26 U.S.C. § 6103, the Internal Revenue Code provision governing access to and protection of tax information, "displace" the FOIA? Status:  Argued before the D.C. Circuit on April 11, 1984.

King v. Department of Justice, No. 84-5098 (D.C. Cir.). Decision Below:  586 F. Supp. 286 (D.D.C. 1983). Issue:  Does an FBI investigation of a suspected violator of national security laws during the McCarthy Era satisfy the threshold requirements of Exemption 7? Status:  Argued before the D.C. Circuit on December 7, 1984.

Brant Construction Co. v. EPA, No. 84-2378 (7th Cir.). Decision Below:  Civil No. H-82-596 (N.D. Ind. June 12, 1984). Issue:  Are citizen letters to the EPA alleging wrong-doing submitted with sufficient expectations of confidentiality to be protectible under Exemption 7(D)? Status:  Argued before the Seventh Circuit on February 27, 1985.

Gulf Oil Corp. v. Marshall, No. 80-1127 (D.C. Cir.). Decision Below:  1 GDS ¶ 79,163 (D.D.C. 1979). Issue:  Does a "reverse FOIA" action remain a "case or controversy" after the underlying FOIA request is withdrawn? Status:  Argued before the D.C. Circuit on September 9, 1985.

Washington Post Co. v. Department of State, No. 84-5604 (D.C. Cir.). Decision Below:  Civil No. 79-2688 (D.D.C. July 3, 1984). Issue:  Would it be a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy to confirm whether an Iranian politician is an American citizen where confirmation would endanger his life? Status:  Argued before the D.C. Circuit on October 1, 1985.


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Updated December 9, 2022