Chiquita Brands v. SEC and National Security Archive

Topic(s): 
Government Transparency — FOIA
Case Description: 

We represent the National Security Archive in this reverse-Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case brought by Chiquita Brands International, Inc. in an effort to stop the SEC from releasing documents responsive to the Archive’s FOIA request for records related to illegal payments Chiquita made to a terrorist organization in Colombia. After the Archive made its request and the SEC determined that the documents are responsive, Chiquita used the SEC’s administrative process to request confidential treatment of the documents, arguing that the documents should be withheld from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 7(B). The SEC rejected Chiquita’s argument and Chiquita sued the SEC under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), alleging that the SEC’s decision to disclose the documents was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. The Archive intervened. The district court granted summary judgment for the SEC, and Chiquita appealed.

On June 17, 2015, the D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that the records are not exempt from disclosure.