FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: State agencies sue FOI requesters

FOIA News (2017)Ryan MulveyComment

Governments turn tables by suing public records requesters

Ryan J. Foley, Assoc. Press, Sept. 17, 2017

OWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Oregon parent wanted details about school employees getting paid to stay home. A retired educator sought data about student performance in Louisiana. And college journalists in Kentucky requested documents about the investigations of employees accused of sexual misconduct.

Instead, they got something else: sued by the agencies they had asked for public records.

Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records that might be embarrassing or legally sensitive. Instead of granting or denying their requests, a growing number of school districts, municipalities and state agencies have filed lawsuits against people making the requests — taxpayers, government watchdogs and journalists who must then pursue the records in court at their own expense.

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