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Am. Chemistry Council, Inc. v. HHS, No. 12-1156 (JEB), 2013 WL 3487692 (D.D.C. July 12, 2013) (Boasberg, J.)

Friday, July 12, 2013
Re: Request for records pertaining to federally funded study of potential health effects of exposure to formaldehyde Disposition: Granting defendants' motion for summary judgment upholding the adequacy of the search
  • Litigation Considerations:  Because the plaintiff "never previously objected to these withholdings and even agreed at the status hearing that the sole remaining issue was the adequacy of the search[,] . . . [t]he only issue to resolve, consequently, is the adequacy of the search."
  • Adequacy of the Search:  The court rejects plaintiff's argument that the search was inadequate because the defendant "failed to search the files of the study's co-authors, which would likely contain additional responsive records."  "All responsive electronic and paper records related to the Zhang publication were centrally stored and maintained by one support staff member."  The defendants explained, "it was unnecessary to search the individual paper and electronic files of the eleven NCI co-authors for responsive records, because such a search would have been duplicative of the centralized search that was performed and would have produced duplicative records."  The court concludes, "where an agency has determined that a search of an alternate source would be duplicative of a search that has already been conducted, there is no genuine issue of fact as to the adequacy of the search." 
Adequacy of Search
District Court
Litigation Considerations
Updated August 6, 2014