FIA-20-0030 - In the Matter of Ron Walli

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On June 16, 2020, 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 Office of Public Information (OPI). Appellant's FOIA request sought information concerning the Additive Manufacturing Energy structure including production costs and annual maintenance costs of the structure as well as information concerning whether the project continues to receive funding. OPI provided Appellant with one responsive document, however, OPI withheld portions of the document under FOIA Exemption 4. On Appeal, Appellant argued that the Department over-broadly applied
Exemption 4 to withhold otherwise releasable information in that the responsive document  does not contain trade secrets or commercial or financial information that could be
considered privileged or confidential. Appeal at 1. OHA reviewed an unredacted copy of the responsive document and determined that the portions withheld by OPI contained
proprietary information belonging to UT-Battelle, a private company, that was commercial or financial in nature. OHA also determined that the withheld portions of the document
contained confidential information because the withheld information was customarily and actually treated as private by its owners (UT-Battelle) and the DOE had provided UTBattelle
with an implied assurance of confidentiality at the time UT-Battelle had submitted its information to the DOE. Therefore, OHA denied Appellant's appeal. OHA Case. No FIA-
20-0030.