FIA-20-0021 - In the Matter of Ron Walli

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The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal filed by Ron Walli (Appellant) from a final determination issued by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Office (ORO). This matter had previously been remanded in the case Ron Walli, OHA Case No. FIA-20-0018 (2020) (Walli). In that case, OHA directed that "ORO determine what type of search [the] OGC conducted and, depending on its findings, to conduct further processing of the Appellant's FOIA request ." On March 6, 2020, ORO issued a second Determination Letter in response to the instructions provided in Walli. This Determination Letter states OGC "performed searches of its internal files, which are maintained electronically via a cloud-based filing system, working hardcopy files" and the e-mail accounts of two different attorneys for the phrase "Fairness of Opportunity" within the period beginning November 1, 2016 and ending January 30, 2017.

The Appellant filed an appeal within the allotted time, challenging the adequacy of the search. Given the description of the searches conducted by OGC, including the locations of the
searches, we believe the search was reasonably calculated to discover responsive documents should they have existed. Accordingly, the Appellant's appeal was denied. OHA Case No. FIA-20-0021