Renegotiation Board v. Bannercraft Clothing Company, Inc.

PETITIONER: Renegotiation Board
RESPONDENT: Bannercraft Clothing Company, Inc.
LOCATION: Robinson's car during a traffic stop

DOCKET NO.: 72-822
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 415 US 1 (1974)
ARGUED: Oct 17, 1973
DECIDED: Feb 19, 1974

ADVOCATES:
Burton A. Schwalb - for respondents
Harriet S. Shapiro - for petitioner
Robert L. Ackerly - for respondents

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Renegotiation Board v. Bannercraft Clothing Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 17, 1973 in Renegotiation Board v. Bannercraft Clothing Company, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 19, 1974 in Renegotiation Board v. Bannercraft Clothing Company, Inc.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Powell.

Mr. Justice Blackmun will announce the disposition of Renegotiation Board against Bannercraft.

Harry A. Blackmun:

These are three cases that come to us from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

They raise the issue of the effect of the Freedom of Information Act on proceedings already pending under the Renegotiation Act of 1951 as amended.

More particularly they concern the jurisdiction of a Federal District Court to enjoin the renegotiation process until an FOI claim is resolved.

The three respondents, all possess national defense contracts.

Each in due course was placed in renegotiation and as to each the regional board recommended they determination of the existence of excessive profits each contractor then made a demand upon the board for certain documents.

The contractor claimed were available to it under the Freedom of Information Act.

These documents in general related to operations of competitors.

In any event when the request was denied by the board, the contractor instituted a suit in Federal District Court to enjoin the board from withholding the requested documents and from conducting any further renegotiation proceedings, until those documents were produced and relief was granted in each case.

On appeal all three decisions were affirmed with one judge dissenting.

Specifically the Court held that the District Court had jurisdiction to enjoin administrative proceedings before the Board.

In an opinion filed today, we hold first that the renegotiation board as an entity is not exempt from applicable provisions of FOIA.

Second that the principle established in some cases of a statutorily prescribed special and exclusive remedy is not applicable to FOIA cases.

Third, that however in a renegotiation case, the contractor is oblige to pursue it's administrative remedy and ultimately go to the Court of Claims.

And when it fails to do this as in these cases, it may not obtain its ends through the route of Judicial interference in the District Courts.

We so conclude because of our decision were otherwise, the effect would be that renegotiation and it's aims would be supplanted and defeated by an FOIA case or suit.

The merits, of course, are not before us at this time.

They are yet to be decided by the District Court.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is therefore reversed and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion that is filed.

I am authorized to say that Mr. Justice Douglas has filed a dissenting opinion and has joined in that opinion by Mr. Justice Stewart, Mr. Justice Marshall and Mr. Justice Powell.