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NJ Court: Legal Fees Justified in Records Dispute Settled Out of Court

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  1. Freedom of Information
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A New Jersey appellate court said a Trenton woman is entitled to recover attorney’s fees she paid in her effort to get records under the state’s new Open Records Act, even though the records were released without court action. Cynthia Teeters sought the results of an investigation of state adoption agency licensing, filed two complaints with the state records council in 2002 and finally got the records after hiring an attorney. The court said, “We are mindful of the strong public policy of this state favoring settlements. . . . A result that places a claimant in a distinctively worse position economically if she settles than she would be by carrying the matter to a successful litigation conclusion disserves that policy.” (8/16/06)