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Taylor v. Sturgell / Taylor v. Babbitt and Fairchild

Topic(s): Government Transparency – FOIA
Scope of Statutory Rights and Remedies
Docket: 07-371



Due Process: Virtual Representation

In this case, Public Citizen represents Brent Taylor, who requested records relating to an antique airplane from the FAA. The district court ruled that Mr. Taylor had been “virtually represented” in a prior case over the records, and the case went up to the Supreme Court on the question of whether a party can be precluded from bringing a claim under a theory of “virtual representation” when the party had no legal relationship with any party to the previous litigation and did not receive notice of that litigation.

The Supreme Court decided in favor of Mr. Taylor, and the case was remanded to the district court, where the FAA argued that the records are exempt from disclosure under FOIA as trade secrets. On January 19, 2011, the district court held that the requested records are not trade secrets because they are neither secret nor commercially valuable, and ordered that the records be released.

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