There is a third FOIA case that will be heard by the Supreme Court this term. The case is entitled Schindler Elevator Corp. v. US ex rel Kirk. The question before the Court is whether a federal agency’s response to a Freedom of Information Act request is a “report . . . or investigation” within the meaning of the False Claims Act public disclosure bar, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4).
The AP is reporting that the Supreme Court has agreed to accept a FOIA case brought by the Federal Communications Commission against AT&T where a lower court found that corporations are included in the term "personal privacy" for FOIA processing purposes.
This will be the second FOIA case before the Supreme Court this term (having just one FOIA case in a term is a rare thing). The other case involves a Ninth Circut decision on Exemption 2.
Update: Here's the Wall Street Journal's take on this.
The Federation of American Scientists has posted this Congressional Research Service Study on FOIA Exemption 3. The study was completed on September 13, 2010 -- just before Congress repealed the SEC FOIA Exemption that is highlighted in the report itself.
CNN reports that the House of Representatives passed the Senate's bill stripping the SEC of its broad powers to block FOIA requests. The next stop is for the bill is the White House, where the bill can be either signed into law or vetoed.
Update: Silla Brush tweets that the White House will sign the bill.
The American Small Business League ("ASBL") and the Department of Energy have settled one of the cases the ASBL filed against the government for failure to fulfill a FOIA request filed by ASBL. The Order approving the settlement can be found here.
The Hill has this posting which gives more specifics on the Senate's action on the SEC's FOIA Exemption. Briefly, the language of the financial reform bill giving the SEC a broadly worded Exemption 3 Exemption has been removed and language has been provided that clarifies that confidential information received by the SEC in its regulatory processes should be protected under existing FOIA provisions. This seems fair -- the SEC will be able to continue to try to push the envelope on what is "confidential information" and a Court would be able to decide if it is correct or not. Except for the fact that it is more work for the SEC, I'm not sure how they can argue with that. The House now needs to act on the matter.
Finally, Law.com has this on the Mark Cuban-SEC FOIA matter.
Judge Reggie B. Walton of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has issued an opinion in the FOIA action brought by Entourage Co-Star and Indiana University Alumni Mark Cuban against the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC").
Judge Walton bounced the ball back to the SEC for either further processing of responsive documents or in some cases further non-conclusory declarations about actions the agency took in searching for and processing the records sought. The SEC also sought a stay of three (3) years to finish processing parts of Cuban's request (probably hoping that Congress would exempt them from the FOIA altogether, thereby mooting the requests). However, the Court deferred a ruling on the request for three years until it can hold a status conference on the issue.