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Kentucky high court orders settlement agreement unsealed

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  1. Freedom of Information
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of a local newspaper last week when it ordered a trial court to…

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of a local newspaper last week when it ordered a trial court to unseal a settlement agreement between a Kentucky school board and a teacher who sued after she was not hired.

The Central Kentucky News-Journal asked for the agreement under the state’s public-records law, but both a trial court and an appellate court refused to unseal the documents, citing privacy exemptions.

"We think it quite clear that the settlement agreements are presumably public records subject to disclosure, regardless of their confidentiality provisions," the state high court’s opinion read.

The court said proceeds from the settlement agreement were paid by the taxpayer-funded Kentucky School Board Insurance Trust and resolved claims against "the school districts, and its agents in their official (as well as personal) capacities, thus negating any notion that the agreements concerned purely personal matters."