System name: Litigation Files, Administrative Complaints, and Adverse Personnel Actions, HHS/OS/OGC.
Security classification: None.
System location: See Appendix on the Administrative Claims System, 09-90-0062.
Categories of individuals covered by the system: The individuals on whom records are maintained in this system are individuals who are involved in litigation with the Department or the United States (regarding matters within the jurisdiction of the Department) either as plaintiffs or as defendants in both civil and criminal matters, and individuals who either file administrative complaints with the Department or are the subjects of administrative complaints initiated by the Department, except claims which are the subjects of records maintained in the Administrative Claims System, 09-90-0062.
Categories of records in the system: These records contain information pertaining to the subject matter of the litigation, administrative complaint, or adverse personnel action. Such records would include complaints, litigation reports, administrative transcripts, various litigation documents, investigative materials, correspondence, briefs, court orders and judgments, and in cases where personal injury is involved, principally malpractice cases, evaluations by physician specialists (Public Health Service, Armed Forces, Institute of Pathology).
Authority for maintenance of the system: The authority for maintaining this system are the various statutes, regulations, rules or orders pertaining to the subject matter of the litigation, administrative complaint or adverse personnel action, (e.g., Public Health Service Act, Social Security Act, Civil Rights Act, Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act).
To represent the Department and its components in court cases and administrative proceedings.
Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:
Disclosure may be made to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the congressional office made at the request of that individual. In the event of litigation where the defendant is (a) the Department, any component of the Department, or any employee of the Department in his or her official capacity; (b) the United States where the Department determines that the claim, if successful, is likely to directly affect the operations of the Department or any of its components; or (c) any Department employee in his or her individual capacity where the Justice Department has agreed to represent such employee, the Department may disclose such records as it deems desirable or necessary to the Department of Justice to enable that Department to present an effective defense provided such disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.
In the event that a system of records maintained by this agency to carry out its functions indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute, or by regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use, to the appropriate agency, whether Federal, or foreign, charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, or rule, regulation or order issued pursuant thereto.
In the event the Department deems it desirable or necessary, in determining whether particular records are required to be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, disclosure may be made to the Department of Justice for the purpose of obtaining its advice.
A record from this system of records may be disclosed as a “routine use'' to a Federal, state or local agency maintaining civil, criminal or other relevant enforcement records or other pertinent records, such as current licenses, if necessary to obtain a record relevant to an agency decision concerning the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant or other benefit.
A record from this system of records may be disclosed to a Federal agency, response to its request, in connection with the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the record is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision on the matter.
In the event that a system of records maintained by this agency to carry out its function indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute, or by regulation, rule or order issued pursuant thereto, the relevant records in the system of records may be referred, as a routine use to the appropriate agency, whether state or local charged with the responsibility of investigating or prosecuting such violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, or rule, regulation or order issued pursuant thereto.
To the Department of Justice or other appropriate Federal agencies in defending claims against the United States when the claim is based upon an individual's mental or physical condition and is alleged to have arisen because of activities of the Public Health Service in connection with such individual.
Records may be disclosed to student volunteers, individuals working under a personal services contract, and other individuals performing functions for the Department but technically not having the status of agency employees, if they need access to the records in order to perform their assigned agency functions.
Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system:
Storage: These records consist of legal size files stored in file cabinets.
Retrievability: These records are retrievable by name of the plaintiff or the first plaintiff if there is more than one, or by the name of the first defendant if the plaintiff is the United States. In the case of adverse personnel actions, records are retrievable by name of the individual involved.
Safeguards: Office buildings in which these records are maintained are locked after the close of the business day. These records are only accessible by General Counsel staff.
Retention and disposal: These records are maintained for an indefinite duration.
System manager(s) and address: The agency official responsible for the system policies and practices outlined above is: The General Counsel, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the General Counsel, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Room 722A, 200 Independence Avenue, SW,
Washington, DC 20201.
Notification procedure: Any inquiries regarding these systems of records should be addressed to the System Manager. An individual who requests notification of or access to a medical record shall, at the time the request is made, designate in writing a responsible representative who will be willing to review the record and inform the subject individual of its contents at the representative's discretion. (These notification and access procedures are in accordance with Department Regulations (45 CFR 5b.6) Federal Register, October 8, 1975, page 47411.).
Record access procedures: Same as notification procedures. Requesters should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought. (These access procedures are in accordance with Department Regulations (45 CFR 5b.5(a)(2)) Federal Register, October 8, 1975, page 47410.).
Contesting record procedures: Contact the official at the address System Manager(s) and Address above, and reasonably identify the record and specify the information to be contested and corrective action sought with supporting justification. (These procedures are in accordance with
Department Regulations (45 CFR 5b.7) Federal Register, October 8, 1975, page 47411.).
Record source categories: The information for this system is obtained through a number of sources including the exchange of legal pleadings, documents, formal and informal discovery, program offices and component agencies, private attorneys, State and local governments, their agencies and instrumentalities, and officers of other Federal agencies and the individuals involved.
Systems exempted from certain provisions of the act: None.