Skip to main content

Access / FOIA

Sep 2023

North Carolina Court Holds Records in Possession of Third-Party Contractor Subject to Public Records Disclosure Requirements

Lauren 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.

Sep 2023

Washington Post Wins Suit Seeking Disciplinary Records of Former LGBTQ and Community Policing Liaison with History of Excessive Force

Margaret 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.

Sep 2023

Colorado Lawmakers Commit to Stop Auto-Deleting Instant Messages with Other Lawmakers

Steve Zansberg

The directive is the first in the nation to expressly prohibit legislators from using so-called “ephemeral messaging” apps when discussing public business.

Sep 2023

A Resounding Endorsement of Open Courts from South Carolina Supreme Court

Eric Robinson

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.

Aug 2023

FOIA Lawsuit Helps NPR Report On “Barbaric” and “Negligent” Conditions in ICE Detention Facilities

Max Mishkin, Emmy Parsons, and David Bodney

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.’”

Aug 2023

Sheriff Ordered to Pay Station’s Attorney Fees After Withholding Recordings of Jailhouse Videocalls Which It Already Had Released

Eric P. Robinson

Judge Toal held that the recordings were public records in possession of a government agency, and thus subject to disclosure under FOIA.

Jul 2023

A Victory for Transparency in Uvalde

Reid Pillifant

More than a year after a gunman killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a judge has ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to release information about the attack and the law enforcement response.

May 2023

Florida Appellate Court Orders Public Release of State Grand Jury Materials from Failed Jeffrey Epstein Prosecution

Nina D. Boyajian and Layal L. Bishara

The Court of Appeal held that courts have inherent authority to order the disclosure of grand jury materials, “despite the traditional rule of [grand jury] secrecy.”

Apr 2023

South Dakota Supreme Court Unseals Billionaire’s Search Warrant Materials, Again!

Jeremy Kutner

A year and a half after the South Dakota Supreme Court unsealed search warrant materials related to billionaire T. Denny Sanford, who was under investigation for possession of child pornography, the court finished the job, unsealing the underlying affidavits that finally told the public what the investigation was all about.

Apr 2023

Significant FOIA Win to Gain Access to MLAT Records on Mexico’s Former Secretary of Defense

Victoria Baranetsky, Dara Gray, and Anise McKinney

Beyond denying the use of a categorical exemption, this case is a unique win because it marks the first time a court has ordered a search of documents when a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty is at issue.