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The New Standard for FOIA Exemption 4

A year after the Argus Leader case, how do you determine whether records qualify as "confidential" commercial information under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act?

July 22, 2020

Regrettably, we've had to cancel this program


Program Overview

Who Will Benefit from the Webinar

Attorneys, journalists, local government officials, and other professionals who deal with public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act

Why You will Benefit from the Webinar

In June 2019, the Supreme Court decided Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 139 S. Ct. 2356, which set a new standard for determining whether records qualify as "confidential" commercial information under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act. This standard is critically important for those private entities whose records are at issue, the government agencies tasked with interpreting the law, and those who are seeking information from the government. Now, one year later, there are still unanswered questions as well as various interpretations of the opinion. This panel will be discussing the developments of the last year, as well as offering their views of what might be coming in future years. This is an opportunity to hear from a diverse group of individuals who each have a unique perspective as to Exemption 4, including a lawyer from the Department of Defense, an in-house counsel at GE Aviation, a lawyer representing reporters, and a lawyer who has been directly involved in litigation along with the government on an Exemption 4 case. The panel will be moderated by a former AUSA who litigated Exemption 4 cases on behalf of the government.

Ellen London, Esq. , Alto Litigation, panel moderator

What You Will Learn

  • The 2019 SCOTUS Argus Leader standard for determining whether records qualify as "confidential" commercial information under FOIA Exemption 4
  • Case law update on subsequent cases addressing the use of FOIA in Commercial Disputes
  • Requestor, company, and agency perspectives on best practices and litigation strategies

What Participants Have Said About Similar Programs

  • Very knowledgeable and experienced speakers
  • Nice to hear various perspectives
  • The balance of contrasting points of view was helpful.
  • The entire program was beneficial

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

10:00 am

The Supreme Court's new standard for applying FOIA Exemption 4: A year after the Argus Leader decision, what do we know about public access to private parties' records that have been submitted to the government

Ellen London, Esq. , Program Chair, Moderator
Alto Litigation / San Francisco, CA

Use of FOIA in commercial disputes

Anuj Vohra, Esq.
Crowell & Moring / Washington, DC

Requestor perspective

Victoria Baranetsky , General Counsel
Center for Investigative Reporting / Oakland, CA

Company perspective

W. Hartmann Young, Esq. , Senior Counsel
GE Aviation / Washington, DC

Agency perspective

Mark Harold Herrington, Esq. , Associate Deputy General Counsel
Department of Defense / Washington, DC

11:30 am

Evaluations & Adjourn

Our Distinguished Panel

Ellen London, Ellen London, panel moderator, is a partner at Alto Litigation. She formerly served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. Before that, she served in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

Victoria Baranetsky Victoria Baranetsky is general counsel at The Center for Investigative Reporting where she counsels reporters on newsgathering, libel, security, and other newsroom matters. Under her leadership, CIR has litigated numerous notable access litigations and has defended itself against a major libel litigation. Prior to CIR, she served as a First Amendment Fellow at The New York Times, a fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and clerked on the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mark H. Herrington is Mark H. Herrington is Associate Deputy General Counsel at the Department of Defense. A former member of the Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps, he coordinates litigation involving DoD interests on a wide range of subject matters, including Freedom of Information Act, military justice, False Claims Act, and prudential searches for criminal prosecutions.

Anuj Vohra is a partner at Crowell & Moring. He assists clients with an array of issues related to contract formation (including subcontracts and teaming agreements), regulatory compliance, internal and government-facing investigations, suspension and debarment, organizational conflicts of interest ("OCIs"), intellectual property and data rights, and the Freedom of Information Act.

W. Hartmann Young W. Hartmann Young is Senior Counsel for Government Business at GE Aviation. He currently provides counsel to GE Aviation's Military Systems Operation (MSO), GE Aviation's Business and General Aviation and Integrated Systems (BGAIS), and Avionics businesses. He previously was a partner in Perkins Coie LLP's Government Contracts Practice, where he focused on litigation, bid protests, investigations, corporate M&A matters, putting together deals, and counseling.

For the Live Program

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