Ronald L. Plesser

Friday, March 3, 2006

Ronald Plesser was a noted authority on federal privacy law and information
policy. At his death in 2004, Plesser was a partner in the law firm of DLA Piper
Rudnick Gray Cary.

Early in the 1970s he began his career with Ralph Nader’s Center for the
Study of Responsive Law, where he assembled a wide-ranging report concerning the
failings of the 1966 Freedom of Information Act. That work led Congress to
overhaul the statute in 1974. The amended law made government records more
accessible to the public. It also made it possible for successful plaintiffs to
obtain attorneys' fees from government agencies in FOIA cases.

In 1973 Plesser successfully argued Vaughn v. Rosen (D.C. Cir.), which
established important guidelines for courts to follow in implementing the
Freedom of Information Act. In another of the many FOIA cases Plesser litigated,
he successfully represented NBC News reporter Carl Stern in a suit that
uncovered an FBI program to disrupt the lawful activities of civil rights and
anti-war groups.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.