U Memo 23-01

Posted on Aug 3, 2022 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 23-01
August 3, 2022
Reasonable Search for Records

A record requester (Requester) made a request to the Reapportionment Commission (the Commission) for copies of documents that included or referenced the home addresses of currently elected members of the State House of Representatives or the State Senate.  The Commission denied the request on the basis that the requested records did not exist.  Requester appealed the denial to OIP.

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. 97-8 at 4-6.  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 request.”  Id. at 5 (citations omitted).

Based on the evidence provided, OIP found that the Commission conducted a reasonable search of its records for responsive records and could not locate such records.  OIP therefore concluded that the Commission properly responded to Requester that it does not maintain the requested records.