Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai

What’s the best way to appeal this rejection?

Jack R-W

You didn’t link the request and I can’t find it on your page. Generally, though, the best way to appeal a rejection is just to appeal, as you don’t need to explain the reason behind your appeal. Whoever accepts the appeals will determine whether or not your request has handled properly, and if not they will fix that.

Michael Morisy

Hi Lorenzo,

Here’s some sample language to appeal a rejection based on a request being too broad:

The requirement to “reasonably describe” applies only to the search phase. The difficult of reviewing and redacting, even for “voluminous” responsive documents, is irrelevant to the threshold question of whether a request is “reasonably described”. DoJ FOIA Update, Vol. IV, No. 3, at 5: “The sheer size or burdensomeness of a FOIA request, in and of itself, does not entitle an agency to deny that request on the ground that it does not ‘reasonably describe’ records within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A). That provision in the FOIA was intended to ensure that a FOIA request description “be sufficient [to enable] a professional employee of the agency who was familiar with the subject area of the request to locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort.” H.R. Rep. No. 93-876, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. 6 (1974). See also S. Rep. No. 93-854, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. 10 (1974) (“[T]he identification standard should not be used to obstruct public access to agency records.”); Bristol-Meyers Co. v. FTC, 424 F.2d 935, 938 (D.C. Cir.), cert.denied, 400 U.S. 824 (1970).”

Given the age of the request, you might have to file a new request before you can appeal.


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