Canadian corporation sues US DoD over FOI request

Canadian corporation sues US DoD over FOI request

22-Mar-2011 Source:

A Canadian corporation hired to provide helicopter services in Afghanistan for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is suing in Washington federal court to keep the contents of the contract confidential.  Canadian Commercial Corp., which bids for defense contracts on behalf of Canadian companies, filed the suit lasty week against the US Dept of Defence in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Central to the case is a Freedom Of Information Act request the DoD received in November 2010 seeking information on a contract awarded in February 2010 to Canadian Helicopters.  The request seeks various figures including line-item prices and hourly rates for services, which the Canadian companies claim breaks commercial confidentiality, and thus releasing it would help competitors to underbid them in the future. The DoD disagrees, saying they have failed to show how releasing the information would place them at a disadvantage.

Thomas Patton of Washington’s Butzel Long Tighe Patton is representing the Canadian companies in the suit. In an interview Friday, Patton said companies have sparred with the DoD in the past over the release of line-item prices.  “Disclosing line-item pricing under a contract where there will be more awards allows anyone else just to see what you’re line-item pricing for particular items and underbid,” Patton said.

The complaint in this case does not identify who requested the FOIA, but it is expected to be on unsuccessful bidder on the same tender.

The DoD has said that won’t release the information in question until the court reaches its decision.

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