Clerk of courts files claim seeking reimbursement for $33K in attorney fees incurred during investigation sparked by judge

Ozaukee County Clerk of Courts Mary Lou Mueller said an investigation sparked by Judge Joseph Voiland’s false accusations against her and two other court officials cost her more than $30,000 in legal fees. Neither that investigation nor a criminal probe that preceded it found any evidence to support Voiland’s claims that Mueller, Ozaukee County presiding…

More

Attorney fees proposal could hurt access to Florida public records, watchdogs say

State senators on Tuesday gave their first approval to legislation that open government advocates say threatens to roll back access to public records in Florida.

The bill (SB 80) would let judges decide whether or not to force government agencies to pay attorney fees when they illegally block access to records. Current law requires that agencies pay for the lawyers of members of the public who successfully sue them over records.

More

Air Force Academy to pay $25,000 in legal fees in open records battle

The Air Force will pay $25,000 to cover attorney fees for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in a Freedom of Information Act battle.

A federal district court judge in New Mexico ordered the payment last week and told the Air Force Academy to re-examine its archives for documents relating to the foundation, which goes by the acronym MRFF, and its founder Mikey Weinstein that would fall under the group's 2011 Freedom of Information Act request.

More

Metro Nashville must pay nearly $57K in attorneys fees in public records case

Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies ordered Metro Nashville to pay nearly $57K in attorneys fees to a public records requester, saying that the city “misinterpreted and ignored the ‘promptness’ requirement” in the Tennessee Public Records Act.

Davies found the city was willful in not complying with the law, a requirement for awarding attorneys fees in a public records lawsuit.

Continue…

More

Experts: New bills in Florida would harm public-records law

Bills filed this week would gut the public's right of access to the government by making it harder for citizens to take records disputes to court, First Amendment experts say.

Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Rene Garcia of Hialeah and Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota, are sponsoring the legislation (SB 1220 and HB 1021), which has the backing of the powerful Florida League of Cities.  Continue…

More

ONA: Open records ruling a major setback

Two Ohio Supreme Court decisions denying attorney fees to a woman who fought the city of South Euclid for public records represent major setbacks to the cause of open government in Ohio, according to the Ohio Newspaper Association.

“This is an egregious case,” said Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the ONA. “The city stonewalled the citizen requesting the information for months, and she even had to get an accountant to show that records the city claimed it didn’t have really existed.”

More