Scientology v. Harris, 209 U.S. App. D.C. 329, 653 F.2d 584, 590 (D.C.Cir.1981). The court's review must be documented and comprehensive, and the court "must be careful not to give any particular factor dispositive weight." Nationwide Building Maintenance, Inc. v. Sampson, 182 U.S. App. D.C. 83, 559 F.2d 704, 714 (D.C.Cir.1977).
1. The Public Interest
Plaintiff argues that the public interest factor weighs in favor of a fee award because CFCs are widely used and because the EPA's nondisclosure was intended to preclude meaningful notice and comment on the proposed regulation. There is no evidence supporting the latter contention, however, and there is nothing to suggest that the information disclosed by the EPA was of any public benefit. Cf. Simon v. United States, 587 F. Supp. 1029, 1030 (D.D.C.1984). Indeed, plaintiff admits that no new information about CFCs was disclosed.
Here plaintiff's suit clearly was motivated primarily by personal interest, not by the sort of altruistic public concerns envisioned by the drafters of the FOIA attorneys' fees provision. See S.Rep. No. 854, 93rd Cong., 2d Sess. 19 (1974). The simple disclosure of government documents does not satisfy the public interest factor: "The release of any government document benefits the public by increasing citizens' knowledge of their government. Congress did not have this sort of broadly defined benefit in mind, however, in enacting section 552(a)(4)(E)." Fenster v. Brown, 199 U.S. App. D.C. 158, 617 F.2d 740, 744 (D.C.Cir.1979).
2. Commercial Benefit and Plaintiff's Interest
The second and third factors are closely related and often are evaluated together. See Fenster v. Brown, 617 F.2d at 743. Here plaintiff argues that it did not profit from the disclosure or obtain a competitive advantage as a result of the FOIA disclosures. The proper question, however, is not whether the disclosures resulted in commercial benefit, but whether the "potential for private commercial benefit was sufficient incentive to encourage [plaintiff] to pursue his FOIA claim." Cuneo v. Rumsfeld, 180 U.S. App. D.C. 184, 553 F.2d 1360, 1368 (D.C.Cir.1977). As representative of users and producers of CFCs, plaintiff clearly was motivated by their commercial interest in CFC regulation. In addition, plaintiff was a well-funded entity created for the advancement of the private interests of its constituent entities. As the Senate Report on FOIA states, "Under the second criterion a court would usually allow recovery of fees where the complainant was indigent or a nonprofit public interest group . . . but would not if it was a large corporate interest (or a representative of such an interest)." S.Rep. No. 854, at 19; see Fenster v. Brown, 617 F.2d at 743-44.
FOIA suits which are motivated by scholarly, journalistic, or public interest concerns are the proper recipients of fee awards. See S.Rep. No. 854, at 19; see also Fenster v. Brown, 617 F.2d at 743-44; Cuneo v. Rumsfeld, 553 F.2d at 1368; Simon v. United States, 587 F. Supp. at 1032. Plaintiff has not shown that its suit was prompted, even in part, by such concerns.
3. Reasonableness of Agency Withholding
Plaintiff asserts that this final factor favors an award of attorneys' fees because the EPA's failure to make speedy disclosure evinces that the government acted unreasonably. The Court's primary focus, however, must be on the propriety of any withholding of documents by the agency, and not on the adequacy of the agency's search efforts. See Weisberg, 745 F.2d at 1498; LaSalle Extension University, 627 F.2d at 486; Simon v. United States, 587 F. Supp. at 1032. Since plaintiff never challenged any withholding made by the government in this case, the Court finds "that the 'government had a reasonable basis in law for concluding that the information in issue was exempt and that it had not been recalcitrant or otherwise engaged in obdurate behavior.'" Weisberg, 745 F.2d at 1498 (quoting Cuneo v. Rumsfeld, 553 F.2d at 1366).
Accordingly, the Court concludes that plaintiff is neither eligible for nor entitled to an award of attorneys' fees under FOIA. Plaintiff has not established that it has "substantially prevailed" in the suit. More importantly, plaintiff is not entitled to attorneys' fees because such an award would not promote the purposes of FOIA. Plaintiff brought this suit in order to protect and promote the personal commercial interests of its constituent entities. Here, as in Fenster v. Brown, 617 F.2d at 745, plaintiff "succeeded in [its] original goal of obtaining release of the [documents]. That is compensation enough." Plaintiff's application for attorneys' fees therefore is denied.
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