(a) An appeal of an Adverse Determination shall be made in writing to the Chairman of the Commission (Chairman). An appeal may be submitted via U.S. mail or other type of manual delivery service or via email or facsimile within 90 Workdays of the date of a notice of an Adverse Determination. To facilitate handling of an appeal, the words Freedom of Information Act Appeal shall appear prominently on the transmittal envelope or the subject line of a Request sent via electronic-mail or facsimile.
(b) An appeal of an Adverse Determination shall include a detailed statement of the legal, factual or other basis for the Requester's objections to an Adverse Determination; a daytime phone number or email address where the Requester can be reached if the NCPC requires additional information or clarification regarding the appeal; copies of the initial Request and the NCPC's written response; and for an Adverse Determination of a Request for Expedited Processing or a Fee Waiver, a demonstration of compliance with the requirements of §§602.8(a) and (c) or 602.15(a) through (c) respectively.
(c) The Chairman shall respond to an appeal of an Adverse Determination in writing within 20 Workdays of receipt.
(1) If the Chairman grants the appeal, the Chairman shall notify the Requester, and the NCPC shall make available copies of the Requested Records promptly thereafter upon receipt of the appropriate fee determined in accordance with §602.13.
(2) If the Chairman denies the appeal in whole or in part, the letter to the Requester shall state
(i) The reason(s) for the denial, including the FOIA exemptions(s) applied;
(ii) A statement that the decision is final;
(iii) A notice of the Requester's right to seek judicial review of the denial in the District Court of the United States in either the locale in which the Requester resides, the locale in which the Requester has his/her principal place of business, or in the District of Columbia; and
(iv) A notice that the Requester may seek dispute resolution services from either the NCPC FOIA Public Liaison or the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) to resolve disputes between a Requester and the NCPC as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Contact information for OGIS can be obtained from the OGIS Web site at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(d) The NCPC shall not act on an appeal of an Adverse Determination if the underlying FOIA Request becomes the subject of FOIA litigation.
(e) A party seeking court review of an Adverse Determination must first appeal the decision under this section to NCPC.