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A federal judge in Minnesota rebuked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its litigation tactics in a recent order in a Freedom of Information Act case. Although Judge Paul Magnuson criticized the SEC, he issued an Aug. 23 order granting summary judgment to the agency in a case filed by the president of Plymouth, Minn., investment research company SEC Insight Inc. SEC Insight sought an injunction against the agency for its refusal to release information on investigations of specific companies or to confirm or deny investigations in other cases. Gavin v. SEC, No. 04-04522 (D. Minn.). In his memorandum and order, Judge Magnuson wrote that the court “adamantly disapproves” of the SEC’s conduct in response to the plaintiffs’ requests and that the agency “shirked its responsibility by brazenly refusing to conduct a document-by-document review � despite a direct order from the court.” “Although the court disapproves of the SEC’s litigation tactics, they were not so outrageous as to warrant sanctions,” Magnuson wrote. Through a spokesman, the SEC declined to comment on the court’s criticisms. In an e-mailed statement, Richard M. Humes, SEC associate general counsel for litigation and administrative practice, said the agency is “pleased that the court affirmed the SEC’s decision to protect confidential commercial or financial information submitted to the SEC during the course of an investigation where disclosure would be harmful.”

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