U Memo 24-03Posted on Sep 14, 2023 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions
U Memo 24-03
September 14, 2023
Reasonable Search for a Report
Requester requested a copy of a report or document of findings by a Kauai County Planning Department (PLAN-K) employee regarding fencing at Lepeuli (Report). PLAN-K responded to the request, stating that it was unable to disclose the requested records because it does not maintain the records. Requester appealed the denial to OIP and asserted, “I do not believe them.”
When a requester contests an agency’s response to a record request stating that no responsive records exist, OIP normally looks at whether the agency’s search for responsive records 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 requested.” Id. at 5 (citations omitted).
Based on the information provided by PLAN-K, OIP found that appropriate staff conducted a reasonable search for records in the locations where any responsive records were most likely to have been found. OIP therefore concluded that PLAN-K’s search for records was reasonable, and its response to Requester’s request was proper under the UIPA.