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Bonsignore v. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Bonsignore sought records in connection with her petition to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to have certain employees of the Linde Ceramics Facility in Tonawanda, New York, designated as a Special Exposure Cohort (SEC). Once employees are designated an SEC, they are presumptively entitled to compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. NIOSH initially determined that the petition was not eligible for a full evaluation and, following Bonsignore’s administrative appeal, appointed a three-person panel to review the initial determination. That panel issued a “review summary” of its findings, on which the Director based a final decision to deny the petition.

Bonsignore made a Freedom of Information Act request for the panel’s review summary. The agency denied the request, and we brought suit on her behalf, seeking disclosure of the review summary. The agency subsequently provided the records, and we dismissed the case.