FOIA Advisor

Court opinion issued Aug. 29, 2016

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Brown v. Perez (10th Cir.) -- reversing decision of U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado that granted summary judgment to U.S. Department of Labor, which had withheld the names and business addresses of treating physicians from certain worker compensation records pursuant to Exemptions 4 and 6.  With respect to Exemption 4, the Tenth Circuit held that the agency could not demonstrate the likelihood of substantial competitive harm by relying upon an unsworn letter from a third party that had objected to disclosure.  Regarding Exemption 6, the Circuit questioned the agency's unsupported claim that the treating physicians had any cognizable privacy interests in their business addresses.  Moreover, the Circuit rejected the agency's post hoc argument that disclosure would implicate the physicians' financial information.  Lastly, the Circuit held that the district court improperly permitted agency to withhold printouts of certain computer menu screens, because the agency had put forth no evidence as to whether those records were "readily reproducible."

Summaries of all opinions issued since April 2015 available here.