US District Court: HHS/NIH Violated Federal Law in Response to FOIA Request for IOM Documents

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that HHS and NIH (government) violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) when they improperly withheld documents from Jeannette Burmeister in response to her FOIA request regarding HHS’s contract with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for the study of diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS.

The IOM contract was entered into with secrecy and amazing speed for a government action, despite patient, physician and researcher protest. These stakeholders are entitled to know what happened. Burmeister attempted to find out via an information request from the government, but didn't receive adequate information. In January 2014, she sued the government for this violation of her rights.

Now with this decision, the court agrees that Burmeister's rights were violated and that the government has to provide the information requested within 60 days.

Burmeister believes that holding HHS and NIH legally responsible for their violation of federal law is a tremendous victory for the ME/CFS patient population.

You can read Jeannette Burmeister's original blog post here:

Showing 1 reaction

  • Mickey Winfield
    commented 2014-10-01 06:29:42 -0400
    This was a great victory for the patient community who has been fighting against the IOM contract which we see as an attempt to keep the truth about our illness in the shadows and disenfranchise us. We all owe Jeannette Burmeister a big debt of gratitude. They have gone ahead with their million dollar contract with the IOM to reach a ‘consensus criteria’ for diagnosis despite the objection of many important stakeholders including the experts in the medical field who have studied and treated us for 3 decades. We’ve seen the same type of disregard for us and our doctors for years. Our gov’t has acted with impunity to cover up the truth and relegate us to a wastebasket in the healthcare system. For far too many years, they have acted in this manner with impunity. My hope is this is a wakeup call for them that we do have some people within the community that see what is going on and are working tirelessly to expose it.