You are here

FIA-13-0074 - In the Matter of Torres Consulting & Law Group, LLC

On December 16, 2013, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) remanded in part a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal filed by Torres Consulting & Law Group, LLC, (Appellant) of a determination issued by the Loan Programs Office (LPO).  In its request, the Appellant requested certified payroll records of contractors.  LPO released documents to the Appellant but withheld information under Exemptions 4 and 6 of the FOIA.  The Appellant claimed that LPO improperly withheld the wage rates under Exemption 4.  OHA disagreed stating that release of that information could cause the contractors substantial competitive harm by giving their competitors an undue advantage in bidding on future contracts.  The Appellant also claimed that LPO should not have relied on Exemption 6 to withhold commercial and financial information in the payroll records.  OHA agreed but noted that the information was properly withheld under Exemption 4, and so OHA did not remand the matter on that issue.  The Appellant also argued that once the contractor employees’ names, addresses, and other identifying information was withheld, those employees no longer had a privacy interest in the deduction, contribution, and payment information.  OHA agreed and remanded the matter for LPO to issue a new determination either releasing the information or justifying its withholding under a different provision of the FOIA.  Therefore, the OHA denied the Appeal in part and remanded the Appeal in part.