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Baker Botts Earns “United States Supreme Court - Impact Case of the Year” Award


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2020 – Managing IP has awarded Baker Botts its “United States Supreme Court - Impact Case of the Year” award for the firm’s representation of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in a landmark decision interpreting the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

In June 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Baker Botts’ arguments that the word “confidential” in FOIA Exemption 4 must be interpreted according to its plain text. The decision in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch and joined in full by five other Justices, overturned more than four decades of precedent that required proof of a likelihood of substantial competitive harm to invoke the FOIA exemption.

The opinion has broad implications for a wide range of industries that provide confidential commercial data and information to the government.

The Managing IP awards recognize achievements in the past twelve months. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Americas Awards ceremony in New York was canceled, and winners were announced on Managing IP’s website.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court ruled in our favor and appreciate the recognition from Managing IP for our work,” said Baker Botts partner Gavin R. Villareal, lead counsel for FMI.

The Baker Botts team that represented FMI included Gavin R. Villareal, Thomas R. Phillips, Evan A. Young, Scott A. Keller, Stephanie F. Cagniart and Ellen Springer, all of the firm’s Austin office, and Sheila Bickel from the firm's Houston office.

The case is Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, No. 18-481, before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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