Georgia Court Rules Open Records Act Won’t Cover Academic Research

The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that academic research at a public college is exempt from the state Open Records Act.

Presiding Judge Anne Barnes wrote for the panel—which included Judges Carla McMillian and Amanda Mercier—saying that universities do not have discretion to release such information on request from the public. The judges overturned Atlanta City Court Judge Edward Baety, who was sitting in on Fulton County Superior Court when he granted summary judgment to the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and the Campaign for Accountability. They were fighting a challenge from the Consumer Credit Research Foundation seeking to block release of records on a Kennesaw State University professor's research into payday lending.

In an opinion released Thursday, the panel remanded the case to Fulton County to consider whether the information in question falls within the academic research exception to the Open Records Act.