American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA (Eighth Circuit)
This case involves a challenge to EPA’s FOIA release of detailed private information concerning family farmers and ranchers throughout the country. The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council sued EPA, arguing that the information—which included details like home addresses, telephone numbers, and GPS coordinates—was protected from FOIA’s mandatory disclosure requirement by the statute’s so-called Exemption 6. The district court granted summary judgment to EPA because, it reasoned, the plaintiffs had no privacy interest in the disclosed information and thus lacked standing. We were retained to handle the appeal and argued that the district court had improperly conflated standing with the merits, and that–properly construed as a merits decision–the district court’s Exemption 6 analysis was wrong. The Eighth Circuit agreed in a unanimous opinion that adopted our arguments across the board.