Case Number: 2023-38
Court: Chancery Court of Putnam County, Tennessee, for the Thirteenth Judicial District at Cookeville
Client: Lindsay Pride, editor of the Herald-Citizen
Petition for Access to Public Records Filed: March 2, 2023
Background: In August 2022, Lindsay Pride, an editor for the Herald-Citizen, submitted a request under the Tennessee Public Records Act seeking salary information for senior administrators at the Cookeville Regional Medical Center Authority, including the hospital’s CEO.
On behalf of Pride, Paul McAdoo, the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative attorney for Tennessee, followed up on the editor’s request a month later by sending a letter to the hospital’s chief legal counsel. The letter urged the hospital to respond to Pride and turn over the requested records.
After consulting with the hospital’s CEO, the chief legal counsel wrote in November 2022 that “I do not have a response for you at this time.”
Pride, represented by McAdoo, then filed this public records lawsuit alleging that there is no lawful basis for denying the editor’s request for the hospital salary records. The lawsuit asks the Chancery Court of Putnam County to declare that the requested records are public records and that the hospital violated the TPRA by failing to disclose them. It also asks the court to order the hospital to immediately turn over the salary records and to cover the editor’s attorney fees.
Updates: The parties settled the case after officials from the Cookeville Regional Medical Center Authority turned over the requested salary information.
2023-03-02: Exhibit A
2023-03-02: Exhibit B