41 CFR § 105-60.701 - Adjudication of appeals.

§ 105-60.701 Adjudication of appeals.

(a) The GSA Chief FOIA Officer or his or her designee shall act on behalf of GSA on all appeals under this section.

(b) An appeal ordinarily shall not be adjudicated if the request that is the subject of the appeal becomes a matter of FOIA litigation. GSA shall administratively close the appeal if it becomes the subject of litigation and provide this notice to the requester in writing that the request has been administratively closed.

(c) On receipt of any appeal involving classified information, GSA shall take appropriate action to ensure compliance with applicable classification rules.

(d) GSA shall provide its review and decision on any appeal in writing. Any decision that either upholds GSA's original determination in whole or in part shall contain a statement that identifies the reasons for the affirmance, including any FOIA exemptions applied.

(e) If GSA's decision is remanded or modified on appeal, GSA shall notify the requester of that determination in writing. GSA shall then further process the request in accordance with that appeal determination and shall respond directly to the requester. If GSA affirms its original decision after timely receipt of an appeal, GSA shall inform the requester via writing as well. GSA shall inform the requester of their right to seek judicial review in the U.S. District Court in the district in which the requester resides or has a principal place of business, or where the records are situated, or in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. GSA shall also inform the requester of the mediation services offered by the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation.

(f) Engaging in dispute resolution or mediation services provided by OGIS is a voluntary process. Mediation is a voluntary process. If GSA agrees to participate in the mediation services provided by OGIS, it will actively engage as a partner to the process in an attempt to resolve the dispute.