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FIA-13-0051 - In the Matter of DeShonne E. Massey Sr.

On August 14, 2013, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision granting, in part, an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Office of Information Resources (OIR).  The Appellant filed a FOIA request seeking copies of any and all records related to a named OHA employee’s use of flexiplace or telecommuting during her entire tenure at DOE.  In its response, OIR stated that after OHA and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) conducted searches of their respective files, only one responsive document was identified.  OIR released this document to Appellant but withheld certain information that was deemed exempt from the FOIA under Exemption 6.  The Appellant contested both the Exemption 6 withholding and the adequacy of the search.  Upon review, OHA determined that the redacted portions of the released document were properly withheld under FOIA Exemption 6 because their disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.  On the issue of the adequacy of the search, OHA   remanded the case to OIR with directions that OIR (1) provide an additional response to the Appellant regarding two additional responsive documents that OHA had located; and (2) assign CFO to make an additional search of CFO records, pending a new estimation of CFO’s search costs and the Appellant’s agreement to pay such search costs.