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FIA-13-0062 - In the Matter of Dinsmore & Shohl, L.L.P.

Dinsmore & Shohl, L.L.P. (D&S) filed an Appeal regarding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that it filed with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) for documents pertaining to the Waste Solidification Building Project at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Savannah River Nuclear Site in Aiken, South Carolina. In response to the FOIA request, NNSA identified numerous documents, releasing all but two of them in their entirety to D&S.  NNSA withheld the two remaining documents in their entirety pursuant to FOIA Exemptions 4 and 5, respectively.  In its Appeal, D&S challenged the adequacy of NNSA’s search for responsive records, as well as the applicability of the cited FOIA exemptions to the two withheld documents.  On Appeal, OHA determined that NNSA’s search was reasonably calculated to reveal records responsive to the FOIA request and, therefore, was adequate.  Accordingly, OHA denied the portion of the Appeal pertaining to the adequacy of the search.  During the pendency of the Appeal, NNSA released the two previously-withheld documents, rendering moot the issue of the applicability of FOIA Exemptions 4 and 5 to those documents.  Therefore, OHA dismissed the portion of the Appeal pertaining to NNSA’s previous withholding of the two documents pursuant to the two cited exemptions.