5 CFR 2411.10 - Appeal from denial of request.
(1) When a request for records is denied, in whole or in part, a requester may appeal the denial by submitting a written appeal by mail or online that is postmarked, or in the case of an electronic submission, transmitted, within 90 calendar days after the requester receives notification that the request has been denied or after the requester receives any records being made available, in the event of partial denial. The appeal should clearly identify the agency determination that is being appealed and the assigned request number.
(i) If the denial was made by the Solicitor or the IG, the appeal shall be filed with the Chairman of the Authority in Washington, DC.
(ii) If the denial was made by a Regional Director or by the FOIA Officer of the General Counsel, the appeal shall be filed with the General Counsel in Washington, DC.
(iii) If the denial was made by the Executive Director of the Panel, the appeal shall be filed with the Chairman of the Panel.
(2) The Chairman of the Authority, the General Counsel, or the Chairman of the Panel, as appropriate, shall, within 20 working days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) from the time of receipt of the appeal, except as provided in § 2411.11, make a determination on the appeal and respond in writing to the requester, determining whether, or the extent to which, the request shall be granted. An appeal ordinarily will not be adjudicated if the request becomes a matter of FOIA litigation.
(i) If the determination is to grant the request and the request is expected to involve an assessed fee in excess of $250.00, the determination shall specify or estimate the fee involved, and it shall require prepayment of any charges due in accordance with the provisions of § 2411.13(a) before the records are made available.
(ii) Whenever possible, the determination relating to a request for records that involves a fee of less than $250.00 shall be accompanied by the requested records when there is no history of the requester having previously failed to pay fees in a timely manner. Where this is not possible, the records shall be forwarded as soon as possible thereafter, consistent with other obligations of the Authority, the General Counsel, the Panel, or the IG.
(b) If, on appeal, the denial of the request for records is upheld in whole or in part by the Chairman of the Authority, the General Counsel, or the Chairman of the Panel, as appropriate, the person making the request shall be notified of the reasons for the determination, the name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial, and the provisions for judicial review of that determination under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4). The determination will also inform the requester of the mediation services offered by the OGIS as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Mediation is a voluntary process. If the FLRA agrees to participate in the mediation services provided by the OGIS, it will actively engage as a partner to the process in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
(c) Even though no appeal is filed from a denial in whole or in part of a request for records by the person making the request, the Chairman of the Authority, the General Counsel, or the Chairman of the Panel, as appropriate, may, without regard to the time limit for filing of an appeal, sua sponte initiate consideration of a denial under this appeal procedure by written notification to the person making the request. In such event, the time limit for making the determination shall commence with the issuance of such notification.
(d) Before seeking judicial review of the FLRA's denial of a request, a requester generally must first submit a timely administrative appeal.