U Memo 21-4

Posted on Dec 3, 2020 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 21-4
December 3, 2020
Hearing Officer Notes

Requester sought a decision as whether the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) properly responded under Part III of the UIPA to her record request by stating that no responsive records exist.  Subsequent to the opening of this appeal, the requester twice clarified her request and DLIR responded to those clarifications by either providing records or stating that no responsive records existed.   

Normally, when an agency’s response to a record request states that no responsive records exist and that response is appealed, OIP assesses whether the agency’s search for a responsive record was reasonable.  OIP Op. Ltr. No. 95-8 at 4.  A reasonable search is one “reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents[,]” and an agency must make “a good faith effort to conduct a search for the requested records, using methods which can be reasonably expected to produce the information requested.”  Id. at 5 (citations omitted). 

DLIR explained that it followed its standard practice for responding to record requests when it received the requester’s requests.  DLIR described its standard practice and asserted that it “searched the only case file created for the case as well as their offices, and they did not find any notes.  It was concluded that the draft notes were discarded after the final decision was rendered.”  OIP found, based on the description of the searches, that they were reasonable.  OIP therefore concluded that DLIR has no further duty to search.