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100Reporters LLC v. United States Department of Justice

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 31, 2017

100REPORTERS LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant, and SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, THEO WAIGEL, Defendant-Intervenors. Re Document Nos. 57, 58, 59, 62

         MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT-INTERVENOR THEO WAIGEL'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT-INTERVENOR SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          RUDOLPH CONTRERAS United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter stems from the resolution of an international investigation of the corrupt practices of Siemens Aktiengesellschaft (“Siemens”). In 2008, Siemens pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging the company with violating the internal controls and books and records provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). The court imposed a fine of $448.5 million against Siemens, and imposed smaller fines against three Siemens subsidiaries that pleaded guilty to separate charges. Siemens also settled a parallel civil proceeding brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and agreed to pay $350 million in disgorgement of profits.

         Among other things, the plea agreement resolving the criminal case required the company to hire an independent corporate compliance monitor to ensure that Siemens implemented an effective corporate governance system and complied with all applicable laws and regulations. Siemens hired Dr. Theodore Waigel (the “Monitor”) to serve as the corporate monitor. Over several years, the Monitor conducted extensive investigation, review, and oversight of the compliance programs at Siemens. During that process, the Monitor submitted a number of written reports to the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”), including work plans at the start of each year and annual reports at the conclusion of each year. DOJ and the Monitor also exchanged other communications regarding the monitorship.

         In 2013, Plaintiff 100Reporters LLC, a non-profit dedicated to investigative journalism, submitted a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request to the DOJ seeking records related to the monitorship. DOJ denied the request, as well as an administrative appeal. In 2014, 100Reporters brought this FOIA action before the Court. The Court later permitted Siemens and the Monitor to intervene in this case.[1] See generally 100Reporters LLC v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 307 F.R.D. 269 (D.D.C. 2014), ECF No. 28.

         Relying on a number of exemptions to FOIA, DOJ has produced portions of redacted documents, while withholding others in full. 100Reporters objects to those withholdings. Now before the Court are separate motions for summary judgment filed by the Monitor, Siemens, and DOJ, and a cross-motion for summary judgment filed by 100Reporters. See generally Monitor's Mot. Summ. J. (“Monitor Mot.”), ECF No. 57; Def.-Intervenor Siemens Mot. Summ. J. (“Siemens Mot.”), ECF No. 58; Def. U.S. Dep't Justice Mot. Summ. J. (“DOJ Mot.”), ECF No. 59; Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. (“100Reporters Cross-Mot.”), ECF No. 62.

         For the reasons explained below, the Court finds that DOJ has justified the withholding of certain information pursuant to Exemption 4 and the attorney work-product privilege contained in Exemption 5. The Court will grant the motions for summary judgment filed by DOJ and Defendant-Intervenors on those issues. At this time, the Court finds that DOJ has not justified its withholdings under the deliberative process privilege contained in Exemption 5 or under Exemptions 6 and 7(C), and will thus deny summary judgment on those issues. The Court will also order DOJ to produce certain representative documents for in camera review and will deny summary judgment on the question of segregability. Finally, the Court will deny the cross-motion for summary judgment filed by 100Reporters.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The Court will begin its analysis by providing an overview of the facts giving rise to this dispute before turning to the procedural history of this litigation.

         A. Siemens and the FCPA Proceedings

         Siemens is a “global technology company focusing on the areas of electrification, automation, and digitialization.” Siemens Mot., Decl. of Joel Kirsch (“Kirsch Decl.”) ¶ 2, ECF No. 58-2. Siemens and its subsidiaries operate in 192 countries and employ roughly 348, 000 people. Kirsch Decl. ¶ 2.

         An international investigation of Siemens-led by U.S. and foreign law enforcement- revealed a range of illegal conduct, including violations of anti-corruption laws and accounting regulations committed by different Siemens business units over several years. See generally Statement of Offense, United States v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 08-367 (D.D.C. Dec. 15, 2008), ECF No. 15 (“Statement of Offense”). In December 2008, Siemens entered into a plea agreement with the DOJ and a consent decree with the SEC to resolve criminal and civil allegations that Siemens and some of its subsidiaries committed certain violations of the FCPA. See Plea Agreement, United States v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 08-367 (D.D.C. Dec. 15, 2008), ECF No. 14 (“Plea Agreement”); Consent of Defendant Siemens, SEC v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 08-2167 (D.D.C. Dec. 12, 2008), ECF No. 1-2 (“Consent”).[2] Three Siemens subsidiaries-based in Argentina, Bangladesh, and Venezuela-each separately pleaded guilty to FCPA violations. See Notice Regarding Corporate Monitorship, United States v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 08-367 ¶¶ 1-2 (D.D.C. Dec. 18, 2012), ECF No. 23 (“Monitorship Notice”).

         Under the criminal plea agreements, Siemens agreed to pay fines totaling $450 million.[3]See Plea Agreement ¶ 5. Siemens also agreed to cooperate with U.S. and German law enforcement agencies and to maintain compliance and ethics programs reasonably designed to detect and deter violations of anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA. Plea Agreement ¶¶ 10- 11. Crucially for this case, Siemens also agreed to retain an independent monitor for a period of up to four years to ensure that the company implemented an effective system of corporate governance. See Plea Agreement ¶ 12. Similarly, Siemens agreed to engage a U.S. attorney, F. Joseph Warin, to provide independent counsel to the Monitor. Plea Agreement ¶ 12. On December 15, 2008, the court accepted Siemens' plea and issued a sentence as set forth in the plea agreement. The court's Judgment explicitly required Siemens to comply with the compliance and ethics program in the plea agreement. See Judgment, United States v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 08-367 at 4 (D.D.C. Dec. 30, 2008), ECF No. 17.

         As part of the universal resolution, Siemens also reached a settlement of the parallel civil complaint filed by the SEC. The SEC alleged that Siemens “engag[ed] in a widespread and systematic practice of paying bribes to foreign government officials to obtain business.” Compl., SEC v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 08-2167 (D.D.C. Dec. 15, 2008) ¶ 1, ECF No. 3 (“SEC Compl.”). More specifically, the SEC alleged that Siemens made at least 4, 283 payments totaling $1.4 billion to bribe foreign officials. See SEC Compl. ¶ 2. The SEC also alleged, among other things, that Siemens paid kickbacks to Iraqi ministries in connection with the sales of power equipment to Iraq under the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. See SEC Compl. ¶ 2. Siemens settled the civil suit without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint. See DOJ Mot., Decl. of Tracy Price (“Price Decl.”) ¶ 3, ECF No. 59-8. The final judgment did, however, enjoin Siemens from violating the FCPA and ordered Siemens to disgorge $350 million in profits. See Final Judgment, SEC v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 08-2167, §§ I, V (D.D.C. Dec. 18, 2008), ECF No. 4 (“Final Judgment”); Price Decl. ¶ 3. Siemens also agreed to engage an independent monitor, see Final Judgment § IV, and SEC staff understood that Siemens would hire the same monitor to carry out the requirements of the civil settlement and the criminal plea agreement, see Price Decl. ¶ 4.

         B. The Monitorship

         As required by the civil settlement and the criminal plea agreement, Siemens engaged Dr. Theo Waigel to serve as the independent corporate monitor. See Plea Agreement ¶ 12; Consent ¶ 3. The terms of the plea agreement called on the Monitor to evaluate:

the effectiveness of the internal controls, record-keeping and financial reporting policies and procedures of Siemens as they relate to Siemens' current and ongoing compliance with . . . provisions of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws . . . and take such reasonable steps as, in his or her view, may be necessary to fulfill the foregoing mandate.

         Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 1.

         In furtherance of the Monitor's mandate, DOJ required that Siemens provide the Monitor with broad access to Siemens' confidential and commercially-sensitive information, documents, and records. See Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 2. DOJ also expressly authorized Siemens to share privileged information with the Monitor subject to a non-waiver of privilege arrangement. See Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 2(b). Similarly, Siemens was obligated to ensure that the Monitor could inspect all relevant documents, conduct on-site observations of Siemens' internal controls and internal audit procedures, meet with and interview employees, officers, and directors, and analyze and test Siemens' compliance programs and controls. See Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 7.

         Further, the plea agreement directed the Monitor to conduct an initial review of Siemens' anti-corruption compliance program and to prepare an initial report, followed by up to three subsequent reviews and reports. See Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 3. The reports would “set[] forth the Monitor's assessment and mak[e] recommendations reasonably designed to improve the effectiveness of Siemens' program for ensuring compliance with the anti-corruption laws.” Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 4. The agreement set forth a process for Siemens to adopt or contest the Monitor's recommendations. See Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 5. The agreement also called for the Monitor to undertake up to three annual follow-up reviews, and, at the conclusion of each follow-up review, to “certify whether the compliance program of Siemens, including its policies and procedures, [was] reasonably designed and implemented to detect and prevent violations within Siemens of the anti-corruption laws.” Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 6.

         Finally, the agreements directed the Monitor to provide regular communications to the DOJ and the SEC by requiring the Monitor to submit a work plan to the agencies for comment prior to each year of the monitorship, see Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 3, to provide the agencies with the Monitor's written reports following completion of each annual review cycle, see Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 4, and to report any significant improper activities or violations of law discovered during the monitorship, see Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 8. Although the plea agreement contemplated a four-year term for the monitorship, the agreement also provided that the term could be shortened or lengthened at the discretion of DOJ. See Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 6.

         The Monitor ultimately conducted four annual reviews and documented his findings and recommendations in four reports dated October 5, 2009; October 13, 2010; October 7, 2011; and October 12, 2012. See Monitorship Notice ¶ 7. These written reports each reached “several hundred pages, with numerous footnotes and extensive appendices.” See Monitor Mot., Decl. of F. Joseph Warin (“Warin Decl.”) ¶ 20, ECF No. 57-2. During the four-year monitorship, “the Monitor made a total of 152 recommendations in over a dozen topic areas, such as third-party risks, financial controls, and compliance policies and training that . . . were ‘reasonably designed to improve the effectiveness of Siemens' program for ensuring compliance with the anti-corruption laws.'” Monitorship Notice ¶ 8 (quoting Statement of Offense, Attach. 2 ¶ 4). Siemens adopted all 152 recommendations. See Monitorship Notice ¶ 8. During the monitorship, the Monitor held annual meetings with the government “to review the findings and recommendations in the Monitor's annual reports.” Monitorship Notice ¶ 10.

         The Monitor created a wide range of written submissions and communications during the monitorship. The Monitor breaks these materials into five categories:

• First, a written work plan for each year of the monitorship, including associated documents and communications. See Warin Decl. ¶ 25(a); see also DOJ Mot., Decl. of Joey Lipton (“Lipton Decl.”) ¶ 5, ECF No. 59-7; Price Decl. ¶¶ 6, 9.
• Second, materials associated with in-person meetings between the Monitor and the DOJ and SEC for each year that work plans were reviewed and discussed. See Warin Decl ¶ 25(b); see also Lipton Decl. ¶ 5; Price Decl. ¶ 9.
• Third, the Monitor's written report for each year of the monitorship, including associated documents and communications. See Warin Decl. ¶ 25(c); see also Lipton Decl. ¶ 5; Price Decl. ¶¶ 6, 9.
• Fourth, materials associated with in-person meetings between the Monitor and the DOJ and SEC for each year that the Monitor's yearly review and resulting report were discussed. See Warin Decl. ¶ 25(d); see also Lipton Decl. ¶ 5; Price Decl. ¶ 9.
• Fifth, consultative communications between the Monitor and his independent U.S. counsel and attorneys from the DOJ Fraud Section. See Warin Decl. ¶ 25(e); see also Lipton Decl. ¶¶ 5-6, 9; Price Decl. ¶ 9.

         After four years, DOJ authorized the termination of the monitorship, concluding that Siemens had “satisfied its obligations under the plea agreement with respect to the corporate compliance monitorship.” Monitorship Notice ¶ 11. DOJ specifically determined that Siemens had granted the Monitor broad access to its documents, projects, and employees:

Over the course of those four years, the Monitor conducted on-site or remote reviews of Siemens' activities in 20 countries; conducted limited or issue-specific reviews in or relating to an additional 19 countries; reviewed over 51, 000 documents . . .; conducted interviews of or meetings with 2, 300 Siemens employees; observed over 180 regularly scheduled company events; and spent the equivalent of over 3, 000 auditor days conducting financial studies and testing.

Monitorship Notice ¶ 7.

         C. Plaintiffs FOIA Request

         100Reporters is a non-profit news organization dedicated to investigative reporting. See Compl., Ex. D at 1-2, ECF No. 1-4. On July 23, 2013, Marjorie Valbrun, a reporter for 100Reporters, submitted a FOIA request to DOJ seeking records related to the investigation of Siemens. See Compl., Ex. D at 1. Ms. Valbrun specifically requested “copies of the Corporate Compliance statements that Siemens has filed with the DOJ under the terms of the compliance agreement outlined in the . . . ‘Statement of Offense.'” Compl., Ex. D at 1. The FOIA request also asks for “all relevant documents related to the DOJ Monitor's evaluation of the effectiveness of the internal controls, record-keeping and financial reporting policies and procedures of Siemens, ” as well as all documents related to the “[s]teps the Monitor has taken to confirm compliance by Siemens” and “[i]nitial and follow-up reviews of Siemens conducted by the Monitor under the agreement.” Compl., Ex. D at 1.

         DOJ responded on August 9, 2013 and stated that it would extend the time limit to respond because the request presented “unusual circumstances” as defined in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(i)-(iii). See Compl., Ex. E at 1, ECF No. 1-5. Then, in a one-page letter dated January 6, 2014, DOJ refused to produce any responsive records. See Compl., Ex. F at 1, ECF No. 1-6. DOJ explained that it had determined that “all responsive records are exempt from disclosure pursuant to Exemption 7(A), which permits withholding records or information complied for law enforcement purposes when disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” Compl., Ex. F at 1. Ms. Valbrun and 100Reporters filed an administrative appeal on February 20, 2014. See generally Compl., Ex. G, ECF No. 1-7. The administrative appeal also narrowed the FOIA request to six categories of documents:

1. Copies of Corporate Compliance Statements that Siemens has filed with the DOJ under the terms of the compliance agreement outlined in the 2008 “Statement of Offense” (the “Compliance Agreement”) filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (United States v. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, No. 1:08-cr-00367-RJL (D.D.C. 2008));
2. Any and all documents related to the DOJ Monitor's evaluation of the effectiveness of the internal controls, record-keeping and financial reporting policies and procedures of Siemens, under the Compliance Agreement, as they relate to Siemens' current and ongoing compliance with the books and records, internal accounting controls and anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws;
3. Any and all documents and related steps the DOJ Monitor has taken to confirm compliance by Siemens;
4. Any and all information, records, facilities and/or employees requested by the DOJ Monitor that fall within the scope of the “Mandate of the Monitor” under the Compliance Agreement;
5. Any and all initial and follow-up reviews of Siemens conducted by the DOJ Monitor under the Compliance Agreement, written reports about the reviews, and compliance work plans prepared by the DOJ Monitor, in consultation with Siemens AG and the DOJ, and submitted to the DOJ for comment; and,
6. Any and all disclosures by Siemens to the DOJ Monitor concerning corrupt payments and related books, records, and internal controls.

Compl., Ex. G at 2.

         On April 22, 2014, DOJ affirmed the denial of the FOIA request in a brief letter. See Compl., Ex. H, ECF No. 1-8. The denial of the administrative appeal again relied on Exemption 7(A). See Compl., Ex. H at 1.

         D. Procedural History of this Action

         100Reporters brought this lawsuit against DOJ seeking to compel the production of documents that are responsive to its FOIA request. See generally Compl., ECF No. 1. DOJ filed an Answer to 100Reporters' Complaint. See generally Answer, ECF No. 11. DOJ raised one affirmative defense-that the requested documents were exempt from disclosure under FOIA. See Answer at 6. DOJ again relied on Exemption 7(A), but also raised numerous other FOIA exemptions for the first time, including Exemption 4, Exemption 5, Exemption 6, Exemption 7(C), and Exemption 7(D).[4] See Answer at 6.

         Soon after DOJ filed its Answer, Siemens and the Monitor filed separate motions to intervene in this action. See Siemens Mot. Intervene, ECF No. 13; Monitor Mot. Intervene, ECF No. 17. The Court granted both motions on December 3, 2014. See generally 100Reporters LLC v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 307 F.R.D. 269 (D.D.C. 2014).

         On March 30, 2015, DOJ produced responsive documents to 100Reporters for the first time. See DOJ Mot., Decl. of Suzanna Moberly (“Moberly Decl.”) ¶ 19, ECF No. 59-3. The production included two videos and 17 pages of documents. See Moberly Decl. ¶ 19. Several months later, DOJ provided 100Reporters, Siemens, and the Monitor with a Vaughn index for the remaining withheld documents on October 15, 2015. See Def.'s Notice of Compliance, ECF No. 47. DOJ later released a second set of documents on December 4, 2015, totaling 101 pages of records released in full and 348 pages released in part. See Moberly Decl. ¶ 19; see also Status Report & Proposed Briefing Schedule at 2, ECF No. 49 (“Federal Defendant provided Plaintiff with some of the documents previously withheld entirely, largely redacted on December 4, 2015.”). At that time, DOJ continued to withhold in full six video presentations and 4, 293 pages of documents. See Moberly Decl. ¶ 19. DOJ submitted an Amended Vaughn Index with its motion for summary judgment filed on March 22, 2016. See Moberly Decl., Ex. F. (“Am. Vaughn Index”), ECF No. 59-4.

         Now pending before the Court are four motions for summary judgment. DOJ, Siemens, and the Monitor each filed a motion for summary judgment on March 22, 2016. See Monitor Mot.; Siemens Mot.; DOJ Mot. Then, 100Reporters filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on April 22, 2016. See 100Reporters Cross-Mot.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. The Freedom of Information Act

         Congress enacted FOIA so that citizens could discover “what their government is up to.” U.S. Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 773 (1989) (quoting EPA v. Mink, 410 U.S. 73, 105 (1973) (Douglas, J. dissenting)). “[D]isclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective of [FOIA].” U.S. Dep't of the Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 361 (1976). After an agency receives a request that “reasonably describes” records being sought, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A), the agency must “conduct[] a search reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.” Weisberg v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 705 F.2d 1344, 1351 (D.C. Cir. 1983). Then, FOIA requires the agency to disclose responsive records revealed by the search, unless one of FOIA's nine statutory exemptions apply to material in the records. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b); see also Elliot v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 596 F.3d 842, 845 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (“[A]gencies may withhold only those documents or portions thereof that fall under one of nine delineated statutory exemptions.”). The nine FOIA “exemptions are ‘explicitly exclusive.'” U.S. Dep't of Justice v. Tax Analysts, 492 U.S. 136, 151 (1989) (quoting FAA Adm'r v. Robertson, 422 U.S. 255, 262 (1975)). And it is the agency's burden to show that withheld material falls within one of these exemptions. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B); see also Elliott, 596 F.3d at 845.

         B. Summary Judgment

         “FOIA cases typically and appropriately are decided on motions for summary judgment.” Defs. of Wildlife v. U.S. Border Patrol, 623 F.Supp.2d 83, 87 (D.D.C. 2009) (citing Bigwood v. U.S. Agency for Int'l Dev., 484 F.Supp.2d 68, 73 (D.D.C. 2007)). In general, summary judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A “material” fact is one capable of affecting the substantive outcome of the litigation. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is “genuine” if there is enough evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-movant. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         When assessing a summary judgment motion in a FOIA case, a court makes a de novo assessment of whether the agency has properly withheld the requested documents. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B); Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 598 F.Supp.2d 93, 95 (D.D.C. 2009). To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, “the defending agency must prove that each document that falls within the class requested either has been produced, is unidentifiable or is wholly exempt from the Act's inspection requirements.” Weisberg, 627 F.2d at 368 (quoting Nat'l Cable Television Ass'n v. FCC, 479 F.2d 183, 186 (D.C. Cir. 1973)).

         To meet its burden, a defendant may rely on declarations that are “relatively detailed and non-conclusory.” SafeCard Servs., Inc. v. SEC, 926 F.2d 1197, 1200 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (quoting Ground Saucer Watch, Inc. v. CIA, 692 F.2d 770, 771 (D.C. Cir. 1981)). The agency's justification is typically contained in a declaration or affidavit, referred to as a “Vaughn index” after the case Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973). A court will presume that an agency's affidavits or declarations are submitted in good faith. See SafeCard Servs., 926 F.2d at 1200. The purpose of a Vaughn index is “to permit adequate adversary testing of the agency's claimed right to an exemption, ” Nat'l Treasury Emps. Union v. U.S. Customs Serv., 802 F.2d 525, 527 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (citing Mead Data Cent., Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 251 (D.C. Cir. 1977)), and therefore the index must contain “an adequate description of the records” and “a plain statement of the exemptions relied upon to withhold each record, ” id. at 527 n.9.

         “Ultimately, an agency's justification for invoking a FOIA exemption is sufficient if it appears ‘logical' or ‘plausible.'” Wolf v. CIA, 473 F.3d 370, 374-75 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (quoting Gardels v. CIA, 689 F.2d 1100, 1105 (D.C. Cir. 1982)). Generally, a reviewing court should “respect the expertise of an agency” and not “overstep the proper limits of the judicial role in FOIA review.” Hayden v. Nat'l Sec. Agency/Cent. Sec. Serv., 608 F.2d 1381, 1388 (D.C. Cir. 1979). Nonetheless, “exemptions from disclosure must be narrowly construed . . . and conclusory and generalized allegations of exemptions are unacceptable.” Morley v. CIA, 508 F.3d 1108, 1114-15 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

         IV. ANALYSIS

         As DOJ correctly notes, 100Reporters has made no objection to the sufficiency of DOJ's search for responsive documents. See Def. U.S. Dep't Justice's Combined Reply & Opp'n (“DOJ Reply”) at 31 n.13, ECF No. 72; see also Mem. P. & A. Supp. U.S. Dep't Justice's Mot. Summ. J. (“DOJ Mem.”) at 37-38, ECF No. 59-2 (describing DOJ's search and arguing that it was adequate).[5] Similarly, neither DOJ nor Defendant-Intervenors have disputed 100Reporters' assertion that it exhausted its administrative remedies, as required by FOIA. See Compl. ¶ 4; see generally DOJ Mem. (failing to raise issue of exhaustion); Mem. P. & A. Supp. Monitor's Mot. Summ. J. (“Monitor Mem.”), ECF No. 57-1 (same); Mem. P. & A. Supp. Siemens' Mot. Summ. J. (“Siemens Mem.”), ECF No. 58-1 (same). The only issue before the Court is whether DOJ's decision to withhold certain responsive material was appropriate.

         Specifically, DOJ continues to withhold certain documents-some in part and some entirely-pursuant to FOIA Exemptions 4, 5, 6, and 7(C), and 100Reporters argues that DOJ fails to show that it properly withheld information under those provisions. For reasons explained below, the Court finds that DOJ has justified the withholding of certain information pursuant to Exemption 4 and the attorney work-product privilege contained in Exemption 5. The Court will grant the motions for summary judgment filed by DOJ and Defendant-Intervenors on those issues. At this time, the Court finds that DOJ has not justified its withholdings under the deliberative process privilege contained in Exemption 5 or under Exemptions 6 and 7(C), and will thus deny summary judgment on those issues. The Court will also order DOJ to produce certain representative documents for in camera review and will deny summary judgment on the question of segregability. Finally, the Court will deny the cross-motion for summary judgment filed by 100Reporters.

         A. Exemption 4

         Pursuant to FOIA Exemption 4, “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person” that are “privileged or confidential” may be withheld from disclosure.[6]5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4). Both DOJ and Siemens argue that the Exemption 4 withholdings are proper. See Siemens Mem. at 12-26; DOJ Mem. at 21-35. The Monitor has not presented any argument on this point, but “joins in and incorporates by reference the arguments by the DOJ and Siemens in their separate motions for summary judgment and related papers.” Monitor Mot. at 2 n.1. In response, 100Reporters argues that DOJ has failed to carry its burden of establishing that the withholdings are proper. See Pl.'s Consolidated Opp'n & Mem. Supp. Pl.'s Cross-Mot. Summ. J. (“100Reporters Mem.”) at 11-28, ECF No. 62.

         An agency may rely on Exemption 4 if it can bear the burden of establishing that withheld materials are “(1) commercial or financial, (2) obtained from a person, and (3) privileged or confidential.” Pub. Citizen Health Research Grp. v. FDA, 704 F.2d 1280, 1290 (D.C. Cir. 1983). The parties have not disputed that the materials at issue in this case were “obtained from a person, ” and FOIA defines person broadly to “include[] an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization other than an agency.” 5 U.S.C. § 551(2); see also Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Exp.-Imp. Bank, 108 F.Supp.2d 19, 28 (D.D.C. 2000) (“[T]he term ‘person' in the context of Exemption 4 applies to a wide range of entities . . . . ”). Nor have the Defendant-Intervenors or DOJ claimed that the withheld documents are “financial.” See generally DOJ Mem.; Monitor Mem.; Siemens Mem.

         Thus, the Court's analysis will focus on the first and third prongs of the test. The Court will consider whether three categories of withheld documents described below contain information that is “commercial” and whether that information is also “privileged or confidential.” The Court will address these two questions in turn.

         1. Sufficiency of Showing that Withheld Documents Are “Commercial”

         In the context of Exemption 4, the D.C. Circuit explained that courts should give the terms “commercial” and “financial” their ordinary meanings. See Pub. Citizen Health Research Grp., 704 F.2d at 1290; see also Nat'l Ass'n of Home Builders v. Norton, 309 F.3d 26, 38 (D.C. Cir. 2002). Withheld “information is commercial under this exemption if, in and of itself, it serves a commercial function or is of a commercial nature.” Nat'l Ass'n of Home Builders, 309 F.3d at 38 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

         Therefore, “records that actually reveal basic commercial operations, such as sales statistics, profits and losses, and inventories, or relate to the income-producing aspects of a business, ” fall within the scope of “commercial” information. See Pub. Citizen Health Research Grp., 704 F.2d at 1290. Courts have identified a range of information that plainly falls within this scope. For example, records containing information on “revenue, net worth, income, and EBITDA” are commercial. See Kahn v. Fed. Motor Carrier Safety Admin., 648 F.Supp.2d 31, 36 (D.D.C. 2009). Courts have also upheld the withholding of loan application information, see Rural Hous. All. v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 498 F.2d 73, 79 (D.C. Cir. 1974), and customer lists, see Greenberg v. FDA, 803 F.2d 1213, 1216 (D.C. Cir. 1986).

         However, in the context of Exemption 4, the term commercial “is not confined only to records that ‘reveal basic commercial operations . . . or relate to the income-producing aspects of a business.'” Baker & Hostetler LLP v. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, 473 F.3d 312, 319 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (quoting Pub. Citizen Health Research Grp., 704 F.2d at 1290). Instead, the D.C. Circuit has instructed that the exemption “reaches more broadly and applies (among other situations) when the provider of the information has a commercial interest in the information submitted to the agency.” Id. Using that definition, the D.C. Circuit held that letters describing market conditions for domestic lumber companies “plainly contain commercial information within the meaning of Exemption 4.” Id. at 320. In another case, the D.C. Circuit found that “documentation of the health and safety experience of [a company's] products” was commercial because such documentation was “instrumental in gaining marketing approval for their products.” Pub. Citizen Health Research Grp., 704 F.2d at 1290.

         Siemens argues that the information at issue here is “plainly commercial.” Siemens Mem. at 13, 15. Siemens particularly relies on Public Citizen v. United States Department of Health & Human Services (Public Citizen I), 975 F.Supp.2d 81 (D.D.C. 2013) and Public Citizen v. United States Department of Health & Human Services (Public Citizen II), 66 F.Supp.3d 196 (D.D.C. 2014). That litigation involved two pharmaceutical companies that resolved civil and administrative fraud cases with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by entering into Corporate Integrity Agreements. Pub. Citizen I, 975 F.Supp.2d at 88. Among other requirements, the agreements called for an independent party, called an Independent Review Organization, to submit annual reports, which included “extensive, probing review of [the companies'] confidential business systems and policies, as well as selected samples of individual transactions, ” and “contained such information as the identity of customers and the underlying business practices that gave rise to the need for corrective action.” Id. at 108. As Siemens correctly notes, the court determined that the reports prepared by the independent party “include extensive information about the defendant-intervenors' marketing and sales programs and contracting processes, and, consequently, are commercial.” Id. at 109.

         Pointing to the Public Citizen I and Public Citizen I cases, Siemens argues that (1) the Monitor's annual reports and related documents, (2) the Monitor's work plans and related documents, and (3) Siemens' internal trainings, presentations, and compliance policies all constitute commercial information. See Siemens Mem. at 15-16. DOJ states that it joins in Siemens' argument and briefly makes its own argument that the withheld materials are commercial in nature. See DOJ Mem. at 23 & n.10.

         100Reporters does not dispute the standard used to analyze whether material is commercial. Instead, 100Reporters takes issue with the rationales DOJ has put forward in support of its withholdings. 100Reporters contends that “DOJ fails to carry its burden . . . because it has provided only insufficient, non-specific claims of an asserted right to withhold.” 100Reporters Mem. at 12. 100Reporters argues that the Exemption 4 withholdings are not supported by “any serious explanation as to the commercial or financial character of the material [DOJ] refuses to disclose.” 100Reporters Mem. at 13. Finally, 100Reporters asserts that DOJ's Amended Vaughn Index relies on boilerplate justifications for withholdings, as well as “repetitive, conclusory assertions that bear little relation to the details of the associated documents.” 100Reporters Mem. at 14.

         As an initial matter, 100Reporters' attack on the form of the Amended Vaughn Index and the accompanying affidavits, standing alone, is insufficient to defeat DOJ's and Siemens' claims that the materials at issue are commercial. To be sure, 100Reporters is correct that FOIA requires the government to bear the burden of establishing the applicability of an exemption. See Coastal States Gas Corp. v. Dep't of Energy, 617 F.2d 854, 861 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (“[T]he burden is on [the agency] to establish [its] right to withhold information from the public . . . .”). To carry that burden, the agency “must provide a relatively detailed justification, specifically identifying the reasons why a particular exemption is relevant and correlating those claims with the particular part of a withheld document to which they apply.” Mead Data Cent., Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 251 (D.C. Cir. 1977). This requirement does not mean, however, that an agency can never rely on repetitive language. The D.C. Circuit has recognized that, in certain cases, “categorization and repetition provide efficient vehicles by which a court can review withholdings that implicate the same exemption for similar reasons.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. FDA, 449 F.3d 141, 147 (D.C. Cir. 2006). In fact, “particularity may actually impede court review” in those cases. Id. Nor is there necessarily any problem with an agency's Vaughn index tracking the statutory language of the relevant exemption. See Landmark Legal Found. v. IRS, 267 F.3d 1132, 1138 (D.C. Cir. 2001).

         In short, 100Reporters' challenges are not sufficient to defeat DOJ's withholdings on their face. The Court's analysis of a Vaughn index is functional in nature. See Judicial Watch, Inc., 449 F.3d at 148. The D.C. Circuit has made clear that “materials provided by the agency may take any form so long as they give the reviewing court a reasonable basis to evaluate the claim of privilege.” Gallant v. NLRB, 26 F.3d 168, 173 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (quoting Delaney, Migdall & Young, Chartered v. IRS, 826 F.2d 124, 128 (D.C. Cir. 1987)). Therefore, the Court will consider DOJ's Amended Vaughn Index, the declaration provided by DOJ, and the declarations provided by Defendant-Intervenors, taken together, to determine whether the withheld materials are commercial for the purposes of Exemption 4. The Court will evaluate three categories of documents in turn.

         a. Annual Monitor Reports and Associated Documents

         First, the Court considers the Monitor's annual reports and associated documents, including presentations summarizing the reports and communications related to the reports. The Court finds that this category of documents contains commercial information.

         DOJ's declarant, Ms. Moberly, asserts that all of the information withheld under Exemption 4 “is ‘commercial' . . . because it serves a commercial function and is of a commercial nature, and Siemens has a commercial interest in the information in that is helpful or instrumental to its business interests.” Moberly Decl. ¶ 22. This conclusory statement, which refers to all of the Exemption 4 withholdings, is not dispositive on its own. But additional evidence does support a finding that the annual monitor reports and associated materials contain commercial information. Other declarations make clear that the Monitor's annual reports and associated documents include probing reviews of Siemens' business systems and practices. See Kirsch Decl. ¶ 17; Warin Decl. ¶ 25(c). Among other things, the reports describe and evaluate Siemens' compliance programs, including references to finance functions, mergers and acquisitions practices, and sales and marketing. See Kirsch Decl. ¶ 18. The reports also detail actual “country operations, projects, contracts, and bids.” Kirsch Decl. ...


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