Hodes v. Dep't of Treasury, No. 12-1435, 2013 WL 5346393 (D.D.C. September 25, 2013) (Jackson, J.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Re: Requests for documents identifying unsuccessful bidders to multiple government procurement contracts Disposition: Denying defendant's motion for summary judgment; granting plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment
  • Exemption 3:  The court grants plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment.  The court explains that defendant "withheld the identities of unsuccessful bidders to multiple government procurement contracts under [Exemption 3]."  "The statute at issue in this case is 41 U.S.C. § 4702, which specifically regulates the release of government contract proposals in response to FOIA requests."  "Section 4702(b) states that '[a] proposal in the possession or control of an executive agency may not be made available to any person under section 552 of title 5.'"  "A 'proposal' is defined as 'a proposal, including a technical, management, or cost proposal, submitted by a contractor in response to the requirements of a solicitation for a competitive proposal.'"  The court notes that, "[b]oth plaintiff and [defendant] agree that Exemption 3 applies here;" "[h]owever, the parties disagree over the breadth and application of the statutory language."  The court finds that, "the provision was not intended to implement a broad legislative intent to keep any information associated with bid proposals secret; rather, the goal was simply to carve out the physical proposals themselves from the FOIA process given the likelihood that that they would be largely redacted in any event."  Therefore, the "disclosure of just the names of unsuccessful bidders would not enable parties to gain access to proprietary cost or technical information."
District Court
Exemption 3
Updated August 6, 2014