Attorney fees

National Conference of Black Mayors v. Chico Community Publishing

January 24, 2018

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) filed a reverse-California Public Records Act (CPRA) lawsuit to block the release of records requested by the Sacramento News & Review (SN&R) related to Johnson's use of public resources for his work as president of the NCBM. Though the SN&R ultimately obtained hundreds of pages of records through the litigation, the trial court denied the paper's motion seeking attorneys' fees. SN&R appealed, arguing that it is entitled to attorneys fees under the mandatory fee-shifting provision of the CPRA. The Reporters Committee and 14 media organizations filed an amicus brief supporting SN&R's appeal of the fee denial.

First Amendment Coalition v. Dep't of Justice

October 5, 2015

The First Amendment Coalition sought to recover costs and fees after it received two memoranda from the government in its FOIA case. The district court held that FAC was not eligible to recover fees and costs because a decision in the Second Circuit was the reason one of the memos had been released, and therefore FAC had not "substantially prevailed." In an amicus brief, we argued that the reasons underlying the fee-shifting provision of FOIA serve many purposes, even when multiple parties seek the same information, and Congress's amendments to FOIA have made clear that a party need not secure judicial relief in order to "substantially prevail." Additionally, news, educational, and non-profit organizations play an important role in vindicating the public's right of access to government records, and should be able to rely on the ability to recover fees and costs.

City must pay $538,555 in public records suit over e-mail metadata

Jeff Zalesin | Freedom of Information | News | July 2, 2013
July 2, 2013

A town in Washington state must pay more than half a million dollars to resolve a seven-year lawsuit that brought electronic metadata within the scope of the state public records law, a trial court ruled last week.

The City of Shoreline will have to reimburse $438,555 to cover the plaintiffs' costs as Washington agencies are required to cover reasonable attorneys fees for their opponents after losing open records lawsuits. Shoreline also agreed last year to pay a $100,000 statutory penalty after the court found that the city violated the state public records act.

Massachusetts newspaper wins legal fees after getting reporter subpoena quashed

Jeff Zalesin | Reporter's Privilege | News | June 18, 2013
June 18, 2013

A federal district court handed a Massachusetts newspaper an unusually robust victory in a reporter’s privilege case last week, not only quashing a subpoena but allowing the organization to recover its legal costs.

Dr. Theresa Harpold, one of the defendants in a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice, will have to pay $8,200 to The Enterprise of Brockton to cover the local daily newspaper’s expenses in fending off a subpoena to its reporter Alex Bloom.

Rhode Island revamps public records law to be more requestor-friendly

Raymond Baldino | Freedom of Information | News | June 27, 2012
June 27, 2012

Rhode Island's governor signed into law yesterday what open records advocates have called the first major revisions in 14 years to its Access to Public Records Act -- changes that will both make more records available and give requestors more rights under the act.

Oklahoma court grants media limited access to state foster care records

Emily Miller | Freedom of Information | News | May 29, 2012
May 29, 2012

An Oklahoma appeals court on Friday affirmed a lower court’s decision to grant the media limited access to state agency records regarding foster parents in 14 counties.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) must provide names, birth dates and addresses of foster parents -- otherwise confidential information -- to the World Publishing Company and KOKI Fox 23 News for the sole purpose of determining whether foster parents are convicted felons.

Fla. appeals court awards attorney's fees for county's undue delay in complying with records request

Josh Hoberman | Freedom of Information | News | May 18, 2012
May 18, 2012

A Florida appeals court ruled today that a county could not avoid paying attorney's fees to a successful records requester who sued for access merely by demonstrating that it did not delay in contacting her to acknowledge her request.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Florida awarded Susan Hewlings attorney's fees after she successfully petitioned a lower court to order Orange County, Fla., to release records pertaining to a dangerous dog investigation of her pet.

Libel lawsuit against professional review website dismissed under Wash. anti-SLAPP statute

Andrea Papagianis | Libel | News | April 2, 2012
April 2, 2012

The U.S. District Court in Seattle dismissed a lawsuit against a website that profiles and rates lawyers, doctors and dentists across the country under the Washington anti-SLAPP statute.

Ohio high court orders partial release of toxicity records

You-Jin Han | Freedom of Information | Feature | January 20, 2012
January 20, 2012

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that with respect to agency records related to lead poisoning, only portions that do not have “personal identifying information” can be released under the Ohio Public Records Act.

Court denies fee award in JFK assassination records suit

You-Jin Han | Freedom of Information | Feature | December 19, 2011
December 19, 2011

A U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled that a journalist who sued the CIA under the federal Freedom of Information Act to release certain John F. Kennedy assassination records was not entitled to attorney’s fees.