Freedom of Information Act

Massey & Gail represents businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals seeking information from the government under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its state open records laws.  Our team fosters transparency and accountability in government, helping clients prepare FOIA requests, engaging with federal agencies concerning those requests, and representing clients in litigation against the government to compel the production of agency records.  Matthew Collette, former Deputy Director of Civil Division, Appellate Staff at the U.S. Department of Justice, litigated many of the government’s most important FOIA cases, including those involving the use of “drones” in targeted killing, classified records involving anti-terrorist operations, confidential business information, personal privacy protections, and law-enforcement information.

We also represent businesses seeking to safeguard confidential information provided to the government.  FOIA’s “Exemption 4” protects commercial or financial information provided to the government under certain circumstances. Our FOIA team advises businesses that submit information to the government to ensure that sensitive confidential business information is not released.  With our extensive experience dealing with government agencies and government litigators, we are adept at working within the system to ensure that the agency understands the confidential nature of a client’s commercial information before any documents are released. We also are able to intervene in FOIA litigation to ensure that the interests of our business clients are protected and bring “reverse FOIA” actions to prevent agencies from releasing confidential business information.  Mr. Collette is a recognized expert in Exemption 4 litigation; his article explaining the implications for business or the Supreme Court’s June 2019 decision in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader is available here.