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Pfizer Inc. v. Oregon Dept. of Justice

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-19-2012
Case #: A144063
Haselton, C.J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J., and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A144063.pdf

Trade Secrets: Information is a trade secret and exempt from disclosure under Oregon Public Records Law when there is evidence that it gains its value from not being generally known, and is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

Pfizer appealed a judgment declaring exhibits produced during an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) as not exempt from disclosure under the parties' confidentiality agreements. Pfizer agreed to produce over 100 documents, and entered into a confidentiality agreement with DOJ. It obligated the DOJ not to disclose the exhibits that Pfizer produced and designated as confidential, including trade secrets, confidential submissions, or attorney work product exempt from disclosure under Oregon Public Records Law (OPRL), ORS 192.410 to 192.505. DOJ filed a complaint against Pfizer. An attorney for a private plaintiff requested a copy of the complaint and supporting exhibits under the OPRL. Pfizer sought an injunction, arguing that disclosure would be a violation of the confidentiality agreement. At trial, the judge ruled that the exhibits were not exempt from disclosure under OPRL. On appeal, the Court of Appeals found that most of the 100 exhibits were exempt from disclosure as trade secrets. Pfizer issued a declaration that the exhibits gain its value from not being generally known, and is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. The Court found the exhibits to be trade secrets as a matter of law and exempt from disclosure. Additionally, any information in the complaint that discloses information in the exhibits is also exempt from disclosure. Reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings.