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City need not provide records in electronic format

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  1. Freedom of Information
A New Hampshire court ruled last week that a city is under no obligation to provide public records in electronic…

A New Hampshire court ruled last week that a city is under no obligation to provide public records in electronic format, The Keene Sentinel reported.

A Cheshire County Superior Court judge dismissed Wallace S. Nolen’s public records lawsuit against the city of Keene because the city provided Nolen with a paper printout of the data he requested, even though Nolen sought the information in electronic format. New Hampshire law does not require government to provide records in a particular format.

Nolen, an open records advocate from Vermont, asked Keene to hand over the names, titles, salaries and contact information of all city employees in a format that could be emailed. When the city agreed only to provide the data in paper form, Nolen filed suit. Nolen told the Sentinel he does not have time to manually insert the data from 40 pages of hardcopy.

Judge John P. Arnold, however, held that “as long as the records are made available for inspection and copying, a public body has satisfied its duties under the statute.”