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FIA-14-0022 - In the Matter of Oles, Morrison, Rinker, Baker LLP

On April 22, 2014, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office (ROO). The Appellant, Oles, Morrison, Rinker, Baker LLP, contested the adequacy of the search for documents responsive to its FOIA request.  The Appellant is a law firm that represents Babcock Services, Inc. (BSI), and it claimed that ROO did not provide copies of emails to and from individuals at CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) and its subcontractor, BSI, with @rl.gov email addresses regarding the solicitation, hire or recruitment of BSI employees by CHPRC.  ROO claimed that the requested emails were agency records as they were not in the possession of the DOE at the time of the FOIA Request and that based on ROO’s contract with CHPRC, documents regarding employment and procurement are deemed contractor-owned records. Therefore, the OHA concluded that the requested documents are not agency records and denied the Appeal.