agency's determination that release will not cause impairment. Id. (deferring to the government agency's determination that disclosure would not dissuade firms from contracting with the government in the future).
The more substantial question is whether release of this information will cause substantial harm to MDA. Upon review of the record, the court sustains NASA's determination that release will not cause substantial competitive harm to MDA. Plaintiff MDA contends that this pricing information will cause substantial competitive injury in three ways: (1) domestic competitors in U.S. government bidding situations will be able to underbid MDA, (2) foreign competitors will be able to underbid MDA, and (3) future commercial contractors will be able to negotiate more effectively with MDA due to their knowledge of MDA's past prices. In support of this position, MDA submitted several affidavits. AR 5. NASA's letters of November 8, 1996 and December 19, 1996 responded to these claims. NASA indicated that release of this type of information furthers the goals of FOIA. AR 7 at 17. It reasoned that government contract pricing information is an "important and significant element of total mission prices" and serves the important function of opening agency action to public scrutiny. Id.; see also Martin Marietta, 1997 WL 459831, at *3. NASA addressed the affidavits submitted by MDA, indicating that MDA did not provide the required level of detail evidencing substantial competitive harm. AR 7 at 17-23. NASA also disputed many of MDA's contentions, arguing that (1) bidders compete on a variety of factors other than price, (2) foreign competitors are not likely to be substantially aided by release of this data, and (3) any difficulty MDA may face in future commercial contract negotiations does not qualify as a substantial competitive injury and should be viewed as the cost of doing business with the Government. Id. NASA also addressed MDA's claims as buttressed by MDA's November 16, 1996 submission. NASA December 19, 1996 Letter. NASA replied in detail to these affidavits and comments, disputing many of the claims in these affidavits with extensive replies by experienced NASA personnel. Id. at 8. NASA's replies not only disputed the affidavits' conclusions but also the affidavits' assumptions and underlying reasoning. Id.
The administrative record in this case differs substantially from that confronted in McDonnell I, in which this court held that NASA acted arbitrarily and capriciously by supporting its decision with bare conclusory assertions. Here, the administrative record provides evidence that NASA rebutted MDA's arguments with detailed analysis. Unlike McDonnell I, this administrative record indicates that NASA consulted individuals who collectively have been involved with more than 200 Delta launches, have more than 80 years experience with NASA, and were intimately familiar with MDA's arguments and evidence. Id. Based on this administrative record, the court finds no reason to disturb NASA's decision to release this pricing information.
For the reasons set forth herein, defendant's motion for summary judgment concerning disclosure of the information at issue will be granted. Plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment will be denied, and both parties' motions to supplement the administrative record will be granted. Separate orders shall issue this date.
Royce C. Lamberth
United States District Judge
Upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, the parties' oppositions and replies, and the entire record, it is by the Court this 10th day of October, 1997, for the reasons set forth in the accompanying opinion,
ORDERED that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be and it hereby is granted; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment be and it hereby is denied; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that the instant case is hereby dismissed.
Royce C. Lamberth
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE