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Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy v. Costle

ELR Citation: 16 ELR 20646
Nos. No. 80-3290, 631 F. Supp. 1469/24 ERC 1229/(D.D.C., 04/07/1986)

The court holds that a group composed of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) producers and users is not entitled to attorneys fees under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for its suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to compel disclosure of documents related to proposed CFC rulemaking.To receive attorneys fees under FOIA, a party must show both that it substantially prevailed and is thus "eligible" for an award, and also that it is "entitled" to an award. The court holds that the plaintiff did not substantially prevail because it did not show that its suit was necessary to obtain the information. EPA did not withhold information in bad faith or intentionally delay disclosure. The court holds that plaintiff is also not entitled to fees. The original suit was not aimed to further FOIA's purposes of promoting disclosures for the public interest of the plaintiff, and EPA had a reasonable basis for withholding the information.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Donald L. Morgan
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton
1752 N St. NW, Washington DC
(202) 728-2700

Counsel for Defendants
Patricia J. Kenney, Ass't U.S. Attorney
Rm. 2800, U.S. Cthse., 3rd & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington DC 20001
(202) 633-5107