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BERNKNOPF v. CALIFANO

February 28, 1979

Arthur R. BERNKNOPF, Plaintiff,
v.
Joseph A. CALIFANO, Jr., Secretary, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Don I. Wortman, acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Robert L. Trachtenberg, Director, Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, SSA, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROSENBERG

This matter is now before me on an action brought under The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (the "Act") by the plaintiff, Arthur R. Bernknopf who seeks information from his employer, a United States agency, concerning similarly situated employees. The defendants, however, claim that under this section the requested information is exempt and therefore need not be submitted.

 On October 17, 1977, the plaintiff requested from the Personnel Officer of the Bureau, a release of information to the plaintiff including the names and addresses of the Bureau's administrative law judges who had theretofore been approved for outside work activities. The plaintiff also sought a description of the specific outside work activities, whether or not such produced monetary compensation, and the names of the approving Bureau authorities.

 The defendants granted a partial list minus the identifying names and addresses of the administrative law judges. The plaintiff then requested the information on the remaining judges. This request was denied, and thereupon the plaintiff proceeded to exhaust his administrative remedies. He now seeks an injunction ordering the defendant to refrain from withholding the requested information under the Act. The defendants claim that the information requested by the plaintiff falls within 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(2) and (b)(6).

 Section 552(a)(2)(A) and (B) reads in part:

 
"(2) Each agency in accordance with published rules shall make available for public inspection and copying
 
(A) final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the adjudication of cases;
 
(B) those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the agency and are not published in the Federal Register;".

 Other matters are also made available with exceptions not here applicable.

 The defendants, however, rely upon § 552(b)(2) which reads:

 
"(b) (The disclosure section) does not apply to matters that are
 
(1) . . .
 
(2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;".

 Other exclusions relate to national defense, foreign policy, statutory exemptions, inter-agency communications, personnel and medical files constituting personal privacy invasions, certain investigatory records, ...


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