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FIA-12-0049 - In the Matter of William B. Ray

On October 1, 2012, OHA denied an Appeal filed by William B. Ray under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.  Mr. Ray was appealing from a determination issued by the DOE’s Oak Ridge Office (ORO), in which it withheld a document requested by Mr. Ray, citing exemptions under both the Privacy Act and the FOIA.  OHA found that ORO had a proper basis for the withholding of the document under the FOIA Exemption 5 attorney work-product privilege, and under Privacy Act Exemption (d)(5), which exempts from release “information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.”  Specifically, OHA found that the withheld document, an opinion from the ORO’s Office of Chief Counsel, was prepared in anticipation of administrative litigation under 10 C.F.R. Part 710, exempting it under the FOIA Exemption 5 attorney work-product privilege, and that proceedings conducted under Part 710 are sufficiently similar to formal civil actions that they should be considered “civil proceedings” under Privacy Act Exemption (d)(5). OHA Case No. FIA-12-0049