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FIA-14-0001 - In the Matter of Donna Deedy

Donna Deedy filed an Appeal regarding a request that she filed under the Freedom of Information Act for information regarding nuclear worker health effects research.  In a December 2013 determination, the DOE’s Office of Health, Safety and Security, Office of Health and Safety (HS) indicated that it its search for records responsive to Ms. Deedy’s request yielded eleven responsive documents, which HS released in their entirety to Ms. Deedy.  In her Appeal, Ms. Deedy challenged the adequacy of HS’ search, maintaining that she did not receive “all pertinent documents requested.” OHA’s review of Ms. Deedy’s appeal indicated that Ms. Deedy requested more documents in her appeal than in the underlying FOIA request.  OHA noted that such an attempt to use the administrative appeal process to expand the scope of a FOIA request is not permitted.  With respect to HS’ determination, OHA first determined that one of the documents that Ms. Deedy requested does not exist.  Because the FOIA does not require an agency to create records in response to a FOIA request, OHA concluded, HS could not be required to produce a record that did not exist.  Finally, OHA determined that HS’ search in response to Ms. Deedy’s FOIA request was reasonably calculated to reveal records responsive to the request and, therefore, was adequate.  Accordingly, OHA denied Ms. Deedy’s appeal.