Christopher W. Madel, Plaintiff - Appellant
United States Department of Justice; Drug Enforcement Administration, Defendants - Appellees
Submitted February 10, 2015
Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.
For Christopher W. Madel, Plaintiff - Appellant: Amira A. ElShareif, Jennifer M. Robbins, Aaron Rainbow Thom, ROBINS & KAPLAN, Minneapolis, MN.
For United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Defendants - Appellees: Pamela A. Marentette, Ana H. Voss, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, District of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
Before BYE, BEAM, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.
BENTON, Circuit Judge.
Christopher W. Madel sued the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration for a response to two Freedom of Information Act requests. DEA withheld some documents as confidential commercial information. The district court granted summary judgment to DEA, finding it produced all non-exempt information. The court denied declaratory and injunctive relief and attorney fees. Madel appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court reverses and remands.
In November 2012 and February 2013, Madel submitted FOIA requests to DEA seeking information on oxycodone transactions in Georgia by five private companies: Cardinal Health, Inc., CVS Caremark, Walgreen Co., AmerisourceBergen Corp., and McKesson Corp. See 5 U.S.C. § 552. Madel also requested seven reports from DEA's Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS). DEA acknowledged each request within the statutory timeframe, but did not indicate whether it would comply. Id. § 552(a)(6) (providing that agency must inform requester whether it will comply within 20 days after receiving request, unless exceptional circumstances apply).
In May 2013, DEA requested processing fees, which Madel paid. In October, after contacting DEA and receiving no response, Madel sued. In December, DEA produced ARCOS reports 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. In January 2014, DEA, citing Exemption 4's protection of confidential commercial information, informed Madel it was withholding five documents: ARCOS report 1 and four spreadsheets of oxycodone sales, one each for Cardinal Health, Walgreens, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson. See id. § 552(b)(4). (DEA found no responsive documents for CVS Caremark or report 6.) Report 1 documents quarterly and annual drug distributions to individual retail registrants (for example, retail pharmacies or hospitals) by three-digit zip code. It includes data on every state and over 1,260 DEA registrants. The spreadsheets document sales in Georgia by each company, identifying every buyer, location of sale, and amount of drug.
The district court granted summary judgment to DEA, finding the withheld documents exempt under Exemption 4. It dismissed Madel's request for declaratory and ...