569 F.Supp. 870 (CIT. 1983), 82-10-01361, United States Steel Corp. v. United States

Docket Nº:Court No. 82-10-01361.
Citation:569 F.Supp. 870
Party Name:UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, Republic Steel Corporation, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants, and Highveld Limited, Companhia Siderurgica Paulista (COSIPA), and Usinas Siderurgicas De Minas Gerais (USIMINAS), Defendants-Intervenors.
Case Date:July 22, 1983
Court:Court of International Trade
 
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Page 870

569 F.Supp. 870 (CIT. 1983)

UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, Republic Steel Corporation, et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants,

and

Highveld Limited, Companhia Siderurgica Paulista (COSIPA), and Usinas Siderurgicas De Minas Gerais (USIMINAS), Defendants-Intervenors.

Court No. 82-10-01361.

United States Court of International Trade.

July 22, 1983

Law Department of United States Steel Corporation (D.B. King, J.J. Mangan, C.D. Mallick, L. Ranney and P.J. Koenig, Pittsburgh, Pa., of counsel), for plaintiff U.S. Steel Corp.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York City (Joseph R. Sahid and Steven Schulman, New York City, of counsel) for plaintiffs, Republic Steel Corp., Inland Steel Co., Jones & Laughlin Steel Inc., National Steel Corp., and Cyclops Corp.

J. Paul McGrath, Asst. Atty. Gen., David M. Cohen, Branch Director, (A. David Lafer and Francis J. Sailer, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C. for defendants.

Wald, Harkrader & Ross, Washington, D.C. (William H. Barringer, Christopher A. Dunn and Arthur J. Lafave III, Washington, D.C., of counsel) for defendants-intervenors COSIPA and USIMINAS.

WATSON, Judge:

In this opinion, the Court answers the difficult question of whether to allow in-house or corporate counsel to have access to confidential information regarding the business of their employer's competitors. The

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question was raised in United States Steel Corp., et al., v. United States, Consolidated Court No. 82-3-00288; but the settlement of the steel dispute with the European Community made the issue moot. 1 Now the issue has been raised once more in this motion 2 by U.S. Steel for access to the business confidential portions of the record. These are portions of the record of the final countervailing duty determinations on carbon plate steel from South Africa 3 and Brazil. 4 To the extent that it claims that these determinations were not supported by substantial evidence, there is no doubt that U.S. Steel has a need for access.

There is also no question that the information sought contains confidential business data of U.S. Steel's competitors in South Africa and Brazil, and could cause significant harm to them if used outside this judicial review. An in camera examination by the Court was sufficient to show that this information contains revealing financial, production, and sales data.

The statute which governs this dispute is part of the law which provides for judicial review on the administrative record. At 19 U.S.C. § 1516a(b)(2)(B) it provides as follows:

(B) Confidential or privileged material.--The confidential or privileged status accorded to any documents, comments, or information shall be preserved in any action under this section. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the court may examine, in camera, the confidential or privileged material, and may disclose such material under such terms and conditions as it may order.

This provision has been held to require the normal balancing test which courts make between the need for the information and the need for maintenance of confidentiality. Connors Steel Co. v. United States, 85 Cust.Ct. 112, C.R.D. 80-9 (1980). Roquette Freres v. United States, 4 CIT 239, 554 F.Supp. 1246 (1982).

In this case, the test is complicated by the fact that disclosure is requested for in-house counsel, the only ones who have been...

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