Access / FOIA
A FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri recently led to the discovery of 8,000-plus pages of hospital survey materials that the requesters were previously told could not be found.
Judge Scoville’s ruling joined numerous other state courts in finding that text messages of public employees housed on personal cell phones are not outside the statutory definition of “public records” merely because they were never transferred to any government entity’s servers for storage and retrieval.
Telephone Records Showing County Jail Snooping on Private Attorney-Client Phone Calls Ruled Public Records in MaineSigmund D. Schutz and Alex Harriman
In a recent win, the Maine Monitor secured a Superior Court order establishing that public records law requires disclosure of reports showing whether jails have recorded privileged telephone calls between jail inmates and their attorneys.
A government body — perhaps for the first time — has ruled that name, image, and likeness contracts that college athletes submit to public universities are public records and not protected from disclosure under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
It’s hard to believe that one-quarter of the way through the 21st century, with Americans spending more time looking at screens than ever before, the criminal trials of a former President and a leading candidate to be our next President will not be televised.
North Carolina Court Holds Records in Possession of Third-Party Contractor Subject to Public Records Disclosure RequirementsLauren Russell and Kaitlin Gurney
The court also held that even though requestor, Charlotte television station WBTV, received the records before a final ruling on the merits, it was entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees under North Carolina’s public records law mandating fee awards to claimants who substantially prevail in compelling disclosure of public records.
Washington Post Wins Suit Seeking Disciplinary Records of Former LGBTQ and Community Policing Liaison with History of Excessive ForceMargaret N. Strouse, Maxwell S. Mishkin, and Chuck Tobin
In an important victory for police transparency, DC Superior Court Judge Maurice A. Ross granted the Post’s motion for summary judgment, rejected the District’s arguments for withholding the records under FOIA’s privacy exemption, and ruled that the Post should be awarded its attorney’s fees.
The directive is the first in the nation to expressly prohibit legislators from using so-called “ephemeral messaging” apps when discussing public business.
But justices differed on the impact of closed nature of the trial court’s proceedings regarding the early release, with the majority ruling that the closure required that the release order be vacated and the dissent arguing that such an action was not required.
These records were released as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in which the court compared the Government’s arguments to “a game of ‘Mad Libs.’”