Peace Corps Office of Medical Services Documents Related to Mefloquine Boxed Warning

Remington Nevin filed this request with the Peace Corps of the United States of America.
Tracking # 16-0101
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Remington Nevin

Peace Corps
FOIA/Privacy Act Office
1111 20th St., NW
Washington, DC 20526
Phone: 202-692-1236
Fax: 202-692-1385
Email: foia@peacecorps.gov

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Documents, including internal reports, memoranda, briefings, presentations, meeting agendas, drafts for internal review, and relevant emails produced or received between July 29, 2013 and August 9, 2013 by the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services (OMS) related to the July 29, 2013 mefloquine boxed warning, to specifically include any drafts or other documented related to the “Peace Corps Passport” blog entry titled “Staying safe, preventing malaria” by Dr. Barry Simon (available at: http://passport.peacecorps.gov/2013/08/09/staying-safe-preventing-malaria/), and to specifically include any emails or other correspondence between OMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related either to this blog or to the boxed warning (in the blog post, Dr. Barry Simon notes that the Peace Corps “is working closely with” the CDC on this issue).

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I am a representative of an educational or noncommercial scientific institution and believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of scholarly or scientific research and news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: FOIA

Dr. Remington,

This serves for acknowledgement of your FOIA request. Your request has been assigned tracking number FOIA 15-0080.

You will receive a response within 20 business days. If you have questions, please contact me at 202-692-1904 or at FOIA@peacecorps.gov.

Sincerely,

Candice Allgaier
FOIA/PA Specialist
RPCV China 2007-2010

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-0080.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA

Dr. Remington,

Here is a status update on your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Material responsive to FOIA 15-0080 has been received. We are working on your request, and we anticipate providing an interim response or a status update by March 26, 2015.

If you agree to this extension, no reply is necessary. If we subsequently deny your request, you still have the right to file an administrative appeal. When there is a need for an agency to seek additional time, the agency must allow the requester an opportunity to modify a request, or to make arrangements for an alternative timeframe for completion of the agency's processing.

You may wish to consider limiting the scope of your request so that we can process it more quickly. If you want to limit your request, please submit a reply to this notification. If you decide not modify your request, please note we anticipate providing an interim response or a status update by March 26, 2015.

If you have questions regarding the message, please feel free to contact me at 202-692-1904 or FOIA@peacecorps.gov.

Sincerely,

Candice Allgaier

FOIA/PA Specialist

RPCV China 2007-2010

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-0080.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA

Dr. Remington,

Thanks for writing. Status is that material which is responsive has been submitted to the FOIA Office. Work continues on processing FOIA 15-0080.

I will be reviewing the material, and drafting a response for you. It will be possible to provide an interim response or a status update by May 11, 2015.

If you have further questions, please contact me at 202-692-1904 or at FOIA@peacecorps.gov.

Sincerely,

Candice Allgaier
FOIA/PA Specialist
RPCV China 2007-2010

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-0080.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA

Dr. Nevin,
Thanks for writing to ask for the status of FOIA 15-0080.
I am reviewing the material which is responsive that we have received.
It will be possible to provide an interim response or a status update by June 15, 2015.
If you have further questions, please contact me at 202-692-1904 or at FOIA@peacecorps.gov<mailto:FOIA@peacecorps.gov>.
Sincerely,
Candice Allgaier
FOIA/PA Specialist
RPCV China 2007-2010

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-0080.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-0080.

Thank you for your help.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-0080.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA

Dr. Nevin,

I am replying to your email and voice message about the status of your request (FOIA 15-0080). Your request is still in our current backlog.

Status is that searching for responsive records has been completed, and I am in the process of reviewing documents and preparing a response.

I anticipate completing your request by August 28, 2015.

Sincerely,

Candice Allgaier
FOIA/PA Specialist
RPCV China 2007-2010

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-0080.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

This message is a request for a status update on 15-0080, which was initially submitted on February 9, 2015 and specifically requested:

"Documents, including internal reports, memoranda, briefings, presentations, meeting agendas, drafts for internal review, and relevant emails produced or received between July 29, 2013 and August 9, 2013 by the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services (OMS) related to the July 29, 2013 mefloquine boxed warning, to specifically include any drafts or other documented related to the “Peace Corps Passport” blog entry titled “Staying safe, preventing malaria” by Dr. Barry Simon (available at: http://passport.peacecorps.gov/2013/08/09/staying-safe-preventing-malaria/), and to specifically include any emails or other correspondence between OMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related either to this blog or to the boxed warning (in the blog post, Dr. Barry Simon notes that the Peace Corps “is working closely with” the CDC on this issue)."

Thank you.

From: Remington Nevin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT APPEAL

Chief FOIA Officer
Peace Corps
1111 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20526
Fax: 202-692-1385
Email: FOIA@peacecorps.gov

Re: Appeal of Constructive Denial of FOIA Request 15-0080

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I am writing to appeal the constructive denial of a request made under the FOIA.

On February 9, 2015, I submitted a FOIA request (the “Request”) to the Peace Corps seeking:

"Documents, including internal reports, memoranda, briefings, presentations, meeting agendas, drafts for internal review, and relevant emails produced or received between July 29, 2013 and August 9, 2013 by the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services (OMS) related to the July 29, 2013 mefloquine boxed warning, to specifically include any drafts or other documented related to the 'Peace Corps Passport' blog entry titled 'Staying safe, preventing malaria' by Dr. Barry Simon (available at: http://passport.peacecorps.gov/2013/08/09/staying-safe-preventing-malaria/), and to specifically include any emails or other correspondence between OMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related either to this blog or to the boxed warning”.

On February 10, 2015, the Peace Corps acknowledged this request, assigning it request number 15-0080. The acknowledgement stated “You will receive a response within 20 business days”. On March 12, 2015, the Peace Corps sent correspondence stating that “material responsive to FOIA 15-0080 has been received”, and anticipating an interim response or status update would be provided by March 26, 2015. On May 5, 2015, the Peace Corps sent further correspondence stating Peace Corps was “reviewing the material which is responsive that we have received”, and anticipating that it “will be possible to provide an interim response or a status update by June 15, 2015”. No further correspondence was received from the Peace Corps until August 8, 2015, at which time the Peace Corps stated “searching for responsive records has been completed, and [Peace Corps is in] the process of reviewing documents and preparing a response”.

For nearly six months, I made numerous attempts to follow up with Peace Corps, to no avail. Over 12 months have passed since I first submitted my Request, and the Peace Corps has not provided any documents responsive to my Request, nor has it identified any basis for withholding such documents.

The FOIA requires an agency to respond to a request for records within 20 days. [See 5 USC § 552(a)(6)(A)(i)]. Where an agency invokes a need to consult with “two or more components of [an] agency having substantial subject-matter interest” in a request, the FOIA permits a 10-day extension of time to respond. The Peace Corps has not sent the requestor any documentation claiming invocation of this extension. Similarly, the Peace Corps has not asserted that “extraordinary circumstances” exist to justify its refusal to respond to this request within the time period required by the FOIA. Therefore, the Peace Corps’ response to this request was due on or about March 10, 2015.

The Peace Corps’ failure to response to this request within the time period required by the FOIA serves as a constructive denial of the request, and I am therefore deemed to have exhausted my administrative remedies [See 5 USC § 552(a)(6)(C)]. In light of the foregoing, I can be left with no other impression that the Peace Corps is not exercising due diligence in responding to this Request.

I respectfully request that the Peace Corps respond to this appeal within 20 business days [see 5 USC § 552(a)(6)(A)(ii)]. If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: FOIA

Please see attached.

From: FOIA

Good Evening Mr. Nevin,
I was informed that you recently made an inquiry about the status of your case. I was assigned to your case, however, I am tasked with responding to the cases in the order which they arrived. I have quite a few cases that are ahead of yours, but I will take a deeper look into tomorrow, and I will be able to give you a better understanding of what needs to be done next week. If you have any other questions feel free to let me know. Thank you.

Mario Edmundo Bryant
FOIA Analyst (YRCI Contractor)
Peace Corps
1100 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20526
Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov<mailto:Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov>
202-692-1887 (o)

From: FOIA

Good Morning Mr. Nevin
I was informed that you recently made an inquiry about the status of your cases and I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that I am currently reviewing all of the cases, as they have been recently transferred to me. I have quite a few cases that are ahead of yours, but I am also dividing my time to address yours as well. I hope to give you a better understanding of your cases by the end of the month (where they stand, next step, and possibly ETA). If you have any other questions feel free to let me know. Thank you.
Best Regards,

Mario Edmundo Bryant
FOIA Analyst (YRCI Contractor)
Peace Corps
1100 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20526
Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov<mailto:Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov>
202-692-1887 (o)

From: Remington Nevin

Dear Mr. Bryant and Peace Corps FOIA Staff,

Thank you very much for your recent correspondence regarding FOIA 15-0080, which I originally filed February 9, 2015. On February 19, 2016, I filed an appeal with the Peace Corps Chief FOIA Officer for constructive denial on the basis of prolonged non-response. In a reply from the Peace Corps dated March 11, 2016, I was advised that your staff is working diligently to complete my request.

I am wondering whether you could provide an updated completion date. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to clarify my request or if further information is needed.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: Bryant, Mario

Good Morning Mr. Nevin,
Once again, I do apologize for the delay in providing you with a response to your FOIA request (No. 15-0080). As I stated to you in the previous email dated 3/17/16 that there were other (complex in nature) cases assigned ahead of yours and a non-response was not due to a purposeful ignoring, but of a system in which we and all government agencies utilize when responding to cases (first in/first out). However, I have made some progress in between working my other assigned cases, and I intend of completing my reviews and sending it over to my supervisor today; whom in returns reviews it, and pushes it forward to Legal Counsel for final review. I would like to remind you that once it leaves my immediate supervisor’s desk, there is absolutely no estimated completion date of review on the behalf of Legal Counsel that I can provide. I kindly ask that you be patient and I will send you an update between this evening and or early tomorrow morning to let you know that it has left my desk with my satisfaction and delivered to my boss for review.
I hope this provides you with some customer satisfaction to let you know that your case is being worked on and that a final response will be delivered soon. If you have any other questions please feel to let me know personally and I will be more than happy to give you the update that you seek. Thank you Sir.
Best Regards,
Mario Edmundo Bryant
FOIA Specialist

From: Bryant, Mario

Bryant, Mario would like to recall the message, "Freedom of Information Request #15-0080".

From: Bryant, Mario

Bryant, Mario would like to recall the message, "Freedom of Information Request #15-0080".

From: Bryant, Mario

Bryant, Mario would like to recall the message, "Freedom of Information Request #15-0080".

From: Bryant, Mario

Good Afternoon,
I will be completed with the review of your case, hopefully by the end of the week. I will submit to my supervisor for a review afterwards. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you.
Best Regards,
Mario Bryant
meb

From: Remington Nevin

Dear Peace Corps FOIA Staff,

May I please request an update as to the status of my request FOIA 15-0080, originally submitted February 9, 2015? I have not received a formal update since an email dated July 11, 2016, at which time it was noted the responsive records were pending supervisory review.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: FOIA

Mr. Nevin,

I sent you a letter dated March 11, 2016. See attached. The purpose of the letter was for informing you of status updates. This letter also closed the appeal 15-0080. We are continuing to process your requests. If there is a status update that you are seeking , please provide the request number (not 15-0080) and a status update will be provided to you.

Sincerely,
Denora Miller
FOIA/PA Officer
202-692-1236

From: Remington Nevin

Dear Denora,

Thank you for your message of October 14, 2016, in reference to my FOIA request originally submitted February 9, 2015, for documents and correspondence related to the July 29, 2013 mefloquine boxed warning. I refer you to the Peace Corps' correspondence of February 10, 2015, acknowledging this request, and assigning it tracking number FOIA 15-0080. No subsequent correspondence has been received from your office reassigning this request a different number.

As can be verified in documents posted to the public website MuckRock, located at: https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/peace-corps-office-of-medical-services-documents-related-to-mefloquine-boxed-warning-15906/, I appealed the Peace Corps' constructive denial of this request on February 19, 2016. On March 11, 2016, you wrote to me acknowledging the appeal, and requesting that I forgo this appeal. I did not concede to this request, and in subsequent months, in response to repeated inquiries for an estimated completion date, was advised on July 11, 2016, that the request was complete and pending only final review. Since that time, I have not received any further substantive correspondence from your office as to when these responsive documents will be released.

Please kindly provide an estimated completion date for my request, and please confirm for me whether this request is still being tracked by your office by its original number 15-0080, or if your office has reassigned it a different number in light of my prior appeal and its extended processing time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: FOIA

Mr. Nevin,

Thank you for your feedback. According to our records you have the following FOIA requests. Please see chart below.

Requestor

Request Number

Short Description

Assigned

Status of Request

Remington Nevin

15-0080

OHS records -- "Peace Corps Passport" / "Staying safe, preventing malaria"

Mario Bryant

Pending final clearance of a response letter. Anticipate response or status update by 10/27/2016

Remington Nevin

15-0278

CDC -- FOIA 15-00394 (52 pages)

Mario Bryant

Reviewing materials. Drafting a response letter. Anticipate response or status update by 10/28/2016

Remington Nevin

16-0101

Mefloquine policy proposal letter correspondence

Mario Bryant

Pending final clearance of the response letter. Anticipate response or status update by 10/31/2016

I will monitor the status of these requests. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Denora Miller
FOIA/PA Officer
202-692-1236

From: Remington Nevin

Thank you, Denora. I will look forward to these responses when they are ready.

From: FOIA

Mr. Nevin,

I’m providing a status update for two requests (15-0080 and 15-0278). We are awaiting approval of the final clearance on 15-0080. It should happen soon and I expect we will send it to you by November 2. For 15-0278 the response is in draft form. I’m pushing to have this reviewed. I’ll know more on October 31 and provide a better update.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Sincerely,
Denora Miller
FOIA/PA Officer
202-692-1236

From: Remington Nevin

Thank you, Denora, for these updates. I will look forward to further updates on each case when these are available.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: FOIA

Good Afternoon Dr. Nevin,
Here is our final response letter to your FOIA Request # 15-0080. I have included the responsive records that we have available. Your case is now closed and if you have any further questions please feel free to contact me. Thank you.

Mario Edmundo Bryant
FOIA Analyst (YRCI Contractor)
Peace Corps
1111 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20526
Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov<mailto:Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov>
202-692-1887 (o)

From: Remington Nevin

Thank you very much, Mario. I appreciate your assistance with this complex case. Given the excessive number of redactions in this document, I shall reserve my right to appeal.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: Bryant, Mario

Good Afternoon Dr. Nevins,
I copy that you wish to appeal, well the information in located on the bottom of the final response letter as you know, regarding the process and whom to address it to. Thank you.

From: Bryant, Mario

Good Morning Sir:
Please give me a call at your earliest convenience as I have a couple of questions that I need to ask in order to process a request that you submitted. My contact number is below and I prefer a call. Thanks in advance.

Mario E. Bryant
FOIA Analyst (YRCi Contractor)
Peace Corps
1111 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20526
Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov<mailto:Mbryant2@peacecorps.gov>
202-692-1887 (o)

From: Remington Nevin

Mario,

Thank you for your message. If you would please kindly document your questions in an email, I will respond promptly.

Thank you.

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: Bryant, Mario

I think that emails can be sometimes confusing and that verbal conversation provide a much more better understanding of what is being asked, but if you prefer then email it is. This email is not in regards to case #15-0080 but of an older case(s) 15-0274 & 15-0278. I need to confirm that you received a response for 15-0278 and not 15-0274, is that correct?

Mr. Bryant

From: Remington Nevin

Mario,

Thank you for your message. I have received responses to the following requests:

-Peace Corps FOIA 15-0080 ("Peace Corps Office of Medical Services Documents Related to Mefloquine Boxed Warning", dated February 9, 2015), which I consider closed. This message is linked to the email address assigned to this request.

-Peace Corps FOIA 15-0170 ("Peace Corps Mefloquine Policy Emails", dated June 5, 2015), also encompassing FOIA appeal 16-0089, each of which I also consider closed.

-Peace Corps FOIA 16-0090 ("Peace Corps TG 840: Prevention of Malaria", dated December 13, 2015), which I also consider closed.

-Peace Corps FOIA 15-0278 ("Email Correspondence with Dr. Paul Arguin, CDC", dated September 24, 2015), which I also consider closed.

I am not aware of request 15-0274.

I am awaiting a response to the following single request:

-Peace Corps FOIA 16-0101 ("Peace Corps Director Correspondence Related to March 5, 2015 Mefloquine Policy Proposal Letter", dated March 18, 2016).

I will send a separate message in regards to this request. Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Dr. Remington Nevin

From: Bryant, Mario

That is great to know, we had temp help for a couple of months that may have attached your name to an incorrect request #15-0274. Your case #16-0101 was recently sent up for review and at this point I am not able to give you any updates such as completion date and when you will receive it. If you have any questions please let us know, thanks in advance.

meb

From: Bryant, Mario

Good Morning,
Allow me to explain the review process of FOIA requests once it has been received and given a FOIA number. The FOIA Chief/Officer assigns it to the analyst of her choice, but ANY and ALL requests are processed in the order in which they have been received. So once it has been assigned and an Analyst begins to process it and completes it, it’s then sent back to the FOIA Chief/Officer for review, keep in mind she is reviewing other cases that have made it to her desk before yours. Now, once she has completed her review, it is then sent to Legal Counsel upstairs and they give their legal opinions regarding redactions and typographical errors. Your case is now with the attorney for their professional review, therefore I have no knowledge when it will be done and cannot provide you any response at the moment. I will inquire with my boss and see if she has and or can get me an update so that I can provide you with one. I hope to get back to you today and or next week as you know the holiday is here and many people may be out of the office as of today. Thank you for your patience.

From: Bryant, Mario

Good Morning Sir:
I processed your case and it has been sent for review, I will check on it and get back to you by COB tomorrow. Thank you.

From: Bryant, Mario

Good Morning Dr. Nevin,
Our records show that our office has sent you a final response to the case that you are inquiring about on 6-7-17. Here it is again, but outside of that I am not sure what else you are expecting? If you have any other further questions regarding this particular case please email the name of the analyst that has taken over the case and who has sent the official response letter (Ms. Chanel Diggs). Thank you.

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