U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Mar 25, 2023

§ 4901.15 - Appeals from denial of requests.

(a) Submittal of appeals. A requester may appeal any adverse determination by the Disclosure Officer of a request under FOIA, including a denial of a request for access to records, expedited action, or fee waiver. The requester may file a written appeal within 90 days from the date of the denial or, in the case of a partial denial, 90 days from the date the requester receives the disclosed material. The appeal must include the grounds for appeal and any supporting statements or arguments. The requester must address the appeal to the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and must submit the appeal by mail, in-person delivery, or electronic telecommunication in accordance with the FOIA instructions on PBGC's website, www.pbgc.gov. To facilitate processing, the words “FOIA appeal” should appear prominently on the appeal.

(b) Receipt and consideration of appeal. The General Counsel will note the date and time of receipt on each appeal and notify the requester thereof. Within 20 working days after receipt of an appeal (subject to extension under § 4901.16), the General Counsel will issue a decision on the appeal.

(1) The General Counsel will determine de novo whether the denial of disclosure was in accordance with FOIA and this part.

(2) Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the General Counsel may act on an appeal notwithstanding the pendency of an action for judicial relief in the same matter and, if no appeal has been filed, may treat the pending action as the filing of an appeal.

(c) Decision on appeal. As to each item (or portion of an item) whose nondisclosure is appealed, the General Counsel will either -

(1) Grant the appeal and so advise the requester in writing, in which case the records with respect to which the appeal is granted will promptly be made available to the requester; or

(2) Deny the appeal and so advise the requester in writing with a brief statement of the reasons for the denial, including a reference to the specific exemption(s) authorizing the denial, an explanation of how each such exemption applies to the matter withheld, and notice of the provisions for judicial review in section 552(a)(4) of FOIA. The General Counsel's decision will be the final action of PBGC with respect to the request.

(d) Records of appeals. Copies of both grants and denials of appeals will be collected in one file available in PBGC's electronic reading room under § 4901.4(d)(1) and indexed under § 4901.4(e).

[61 FR 34123, July 1, 1996, as amended at 68 FR 61358, Oct. 28, 2003; 82 FR 26992, June 13, 2017; 87 FR 43996, July 25, 2022]