Iowa ruling clarifies who must pay legal fees in FOI suits

From Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

The Iowa Supreme Court recently clarified the state’s open records statute by ruling that a government agency must prove it acted in “good faith” in withholding documents if it wants to not be liable for paying attorneys fees of people who successfully challenge freedom of information decisions.

The city of Riverdale had claimed that a state district court erred in requiring it to pay defendants’ attorneys fees because that court never explicitly said the municipality did not act in “good faith.”

But the high court held on Friday that the circumstances in the case show that the city acted without good faith and, therefore, must pay the defendants’ bill.