In National Ass’n of Criminal Defense Lawyers v. Executive Office for the U.S. Attorneys, No. 14-269 (D.D.C. Dec. 18, 2014), the district court held that the DOJ’s Federal Criminal Discovery Manual (the “Blue Book”) is attorney work product and is protected from disclosure pursuant to FOIA exemption 5.  Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA seeking the Blue Book, arguing that the document contains only statements of agency policy and general, neutral guidelines regarding prosecutors’ disclosure obligations.  The DOJ argued that the manual contains legal advice, strategies, and arguments for defeating discovery claims.  Followingin camera review, the court held that the manual was protected work product.  The court explained that the work product doctrine protects not only documents prepared by government lawyers in connection with active investigations of potential wrongdoing and where there is a specific claim supported by concrete facts which would likely lead to “litigation in mind,” but also if the documents “are prepared by an attorney ‘rendering legal advice in order to protect the client from future litigation about a particular transaction.”  In such a situation, “no specific claim is needed.”  The court held that, despite the fact that the manual was not prepared for any specific litigation, it satisfied the “anticipation of litigation” test because the document was prepared “in anticipation of foreseeable litigation against the agency.”  The court acknowledged a recent decision by a federal district court in the District of Oregon (United States v. Pederson, Case No. 12-431-HA) that held that the Blue Book was not protected work product, but respectfully chose not to follow that court’s reasoning.