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Change to Win v. Ferris State University

This case was brought under the Michigan FOIA on behalf of Change to Win, a group of affiliated labor unions, seeking disclosure from Ferris State University of the contract between Ferris State, a public university, and Caremark, a pharmacy benefit management company. Ferris State, in responding to the initial FOIA request, withheld crucial terms of the contract under the Michigan FOIA’s trade secret exemption, making effective evaluation of the expenditure of public funds impossible.

After filing suit, Change to Win moved for summary disposition arguing that the Michigan FOIA’s trade secrets exemption cannot, as a matter of law, be applied to withhold any portion of a public contract. Shortly thereafter, Caremark intervened and sought extensive discovery. In defense of what it viewed as harassing discovery requests, Change to Win moved for a protective order to bar two depositions that Caremark sought and Caremark moved to compel responses to an interrogatory and a request for production to which Change to Win had objected. Change to Win prevailed in part on its motion for a protective order, and Caremark prevailed in part on its motion to compel.