The normal rules of pleading that govern civil cases presumably apply in FOIA suits. See generally Rule 8, Ark. R. Civ. P. Arkansas is a “fact pleading” jurisdiction with requirements more stringent than those applicable in federal court. See Harvey v. Eastman Kodak Co., 271 Ark. 783, 610 S.W.2d 582 (1981) (explaining Ark. R. Civ. P. 8(a)). More informal pleading may be permissible in FOIA cases, however, because the act refers to a “petition” that is to be filed in an “appeal” to the appropriate circuit court. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-107(a) & (b).
The pleading is in the form of a statutory appeal – a petition for review under M. R. Civ. P. 80B (local government) or 80C (state government) pursuant to 1 M.R.S.A. § 409(1). The appeal is from the governmental agency's administrative action denying access to the record. The records sought, basis for disclosure, and background facts should be included as should a copy of the letter requesting access and any denial or other response.
The CPRA provides that one may seek injunctive or declaratory relief or a writ of mandate to enforce his or her right to inspect or to receive a copy of any public record. Cal. Gov't Code § 6258. In California, the pleading format for injunctive and declaratory relief is a complaint. The proper pleading form for a writ of mandate is a verified petition. Because one section of the CPRA refers to the procedure as a "verified petition," the initial pleadings, whether a complaint or petition, should be verified. See Cal. Gov't Code § 6259.
The complainant files a complaint with the circuit court and the defendant files an answer or otherwise pleads to the complaint within thirty days after service of the complaint. § 10-623(a) and (b). The defendant may submit a memorandum in support of its decision to deny access. § 10-623(b)(2)(ii).