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Government Records

Jul 2024

Court Orders D.C. Police to Produce Thousands of Records About Monitoring Citizens’ Social Media Accounts

Alia Smith

The MPD produced more than 160,000 records totaling roughly 700,000 pages, which shed significant light on how MPD keeps tabs on citizens, including those engaged in lawful protest activity, through its monitoring of social media accounts. The District also agreed to pay $400,000 in attorneys’ fees.

Jul 2024

American Survivors of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty Still Seek Answers

Caesar Kalinowski IV

Kinnucan’s lawsuit forced the disclosure of hundreds of documents previously withheld by the government for decades. But NSA has repeatedly stalled and even unilaterally decided to “reprocess” her request after briefing on the case had commenced in the Ninth Circuit. The reason for the delay seems clear; time is running out.

May 2024

To Seal or Not to Seal—That is the Question

Mackenzie Arnold

The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded an order from a district court that unsealed a now-settled case allegedly involving revenge porn because the district court applied the incorrect standard for sealing judicial documents.

May 2024

Ohio Supreme Court Brings Curtain Down On Covid Data

John C. Greiner & Darren W. Ford

In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for Ohioans' right to know, the Court held that the Ohio Department of Health must withhold official cause of death information contained in ODH's Electronic Death Registration System from the public.

Apr 2024

Connecticut Supreme Court Reaffirms Public Right to Access Cold Case Records

Stephanie Rice

The Supreme Court of Connecticut issued a ruling of first impression defining the scope of an exception to the state FOIA law allowing police to withhold investigative information “to be used in a prospective law enforcement action” if disclosure would be “prejudicial to such action.”

Apr 2024

D.C. Circuit Reinforces FOIA’s Foreseeable Harm Requirement

Stephen Stich Match

The statute now generally requires agencies to show both that an exemption applies and that disclosure would cause recognized harm. But despite being on the books for eight years, the D.C. Circuit’s ruling is only one of a handful to grapple with the requirement.

Apr 2024

Investigative Reporter Wins Access to California Official’s Calendar Entries

Steve Zansberg

On March 5, Judge Chang issued a Final Ruling, in a case under California’s Public Records Act, granting a Writ of Mandate that commands Governor Gavin Newsom to release the calendar entries of all meetings between his Cabinet Secretary and any representative of Pacific Gas & Electric in May 2023.

Jan 2024

Virginia Media Win Access to Report on School Shooting

David B. Lacy and Harley J. McClellan

The Circuit Court held that the Virginia Freedom of Information Act required disclosure of a school board’s investigation report into a graduation shooting even though a law firm conducted the investigation and prepared the report.

Jan 2024

Ohio Supreme Court Finds Amusement Park’s Private Police Force Is Subject to Public Records Law

Ryan W. Goellner

The television stations’ requests first required analysis of a novel issue under Ohio law: whether a private police department created pursuant to a city ordinance and by agreement between the amusement park and the city was subject to Ohio’s Public Records Act.

Nov 2023

“Unsubstantiated” Complaints About Police Are Not Categorically Exempt from FOIL Disclosure

Alia Smith

New York’s Second Department held that police disciplinary records, formerly shielded from public disclosure under the now-repealed Civil Rights Law Section 50-a, are not categorically exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Law’s privacy exemption.