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2. Applicable time limits

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  • Alaska

    Notwithstanding the need to start a lawsuit for meetings violations like any other lawsuit, and to prepare and have a complaint and summonses served on the appropriate defendants, a temporary restraining order or other expedited relief can be obtained even before the summonses are served on the defendants and they have filed answers. Notice must be given pursuant to Civil Rule 65 if you are seeking an injunction, except in extraordinary instances where this is not possible. A lawsuit to void an action taken in violation of the Open Meetings Act must be filed in superior court within 180 days after the date of the action being challenged. AS 44.62.310(f).  An action for declaratory judgment is not subject to this six-month limit.

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Arkansas

    The FOIA contains no time limit for challenging an agency’s action. If judicial relief is sought, the general five-year statute of limitations apparently applies. See Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-115. However, if the plaintiff seeks invalidation of the action taken at the closed meeting, it is unlikely that the court would permit this remedy if there has been a considerable passage of time between the meeting and the filing of the suit. See Rehab Hosp. Servs. Corp., v. Delta-Hills Health Sys. Agency Inc., 285 Ark. 397, 687 S.W.2d 840 (1985).

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  • California

    Under the Bagley-Keene Act, a court action that seeks to nullify action taken in violation of the Act, must be filed within 90 days of the date the action was taken. Cal. Gov't Code § 11130.3.

    (The Legislature also amended this section of the Bagley-Keene Act in 1999 to supersede Regents of the Univ. of California v. Superior Court (Molloy), 20 Cal.4th 509, 976 P.2d 808, 85 Cal. Rptr. 2d 257 (1999), where the California Supreme Court held that a suit must be brought within 30 days of the violation to nullify the action.)

    Under the Brown Act, a person who seeks to declare an action null and void in violation of Sections 54953 (open and public meetings), 54954.2 (posting of agenda), 54954.5 (description requirements for closed sessions), 54954.6 (public meeting on general tax or assessment and notice thereof), or 54956 (special meetings and notice thereof), must make a written demand to the legislative body to cure or correct an action taken in closed session within 90 days from the date the action was taken. Cal. Gov't Code § 54960.1(c)(1); Ingram v. Flippo, 74 Cal. App. 4th 1280, 84 Cal. Rptr. 2d 60 (1999). However, if the action was taken in an open session but in violation of Section 54954.2 (action or discussion on item not appearing on posted agenda), the written demand must be made within 30 days of the date the action was taken. Cal. Gov't Code § 54960.1(c)(1).

    A local legislative body then has 30 days from receipt of the demand to cure or correct the violation. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54960.1(c)(2). Within 15 days of the legislative body’s decision to cure or correct, or not cure and correct, or within 15 days of the expiration of the 30-day period to cure or correct (if no response is provided), whichever is earlier, the party making the demand must commence the action. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54960.1(c)(4). The action will be barred if not timely filed. Id.

    Under the Brown Act, a person seeking to file an action to determine the application of the Act to past actions pursuant to Section 54960(a) must first submit a cease and desist letter within nine months of the alleged violation. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54960.2(b)(4). The legislative body has 30 days from receipt of the demand to respond. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54960.2(b). Within 60 days from receipt of the legislative body’s response to the cease and desist letter (other than an unconditional commitment to comply), or within 60 days of the expiration of the time during which the legislative body may respond to the letter, whichever is earlier, the party submitting the letter must commence an action, or thereafter be barred from doing so. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54960.2(b).

    The Bagley-Keene Act is silent on the time to file an action under Section 11130 (actions to stop or prevent violations or threatened violations, or to determine the application of the Act to past actions or threatened future actions). Because the relief is equitable in nature, it is advisable to file suit as soon as practicable after the violation, or after subsequent communications with state body have ceased to be productive.

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  • Colorado

    Not Applicable.

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  • Connecticut

    The notice of appeal must be filed within thirty days of the denial, except in the case of an unnoticed or secret meeting, when the notice must be filed within thirty days after receiving notice in fact that the meeting was held. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-206(b)(1). In Lowthert v. FOIC, 2017 Conn. Super. LEXIS 158, the Superior Court held that “notice in fact” means actual notice to the complainant. The notice of appeal is deemed filed on the date it was received by the FOIC or on the date it is postmarked, if received more than thirty days after the date of the denial. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-206(b)(1). Upon receipt of the notice of appeal, the FOIC will serve notice of the appeal upon interested parties. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-206(b)(1).

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  • Delaware

    Any citizen may challenge a public action under the Act by filing suit within 60 days of learning of the action, but no later than six months after the action. 29 Del. C. § 10005(a).

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Georgia

    A suit to invalidate an official agency action must be commenced within 90 days of the date of the contested action or within 90 days from the date the contestant knew or should have known of the violation, but in no event more than 6 months after the contested action occurred.  O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(b)(2).  If the contested action was a zoning decision, any action must be commenced within the time allowed by law for appeal of the decision.  § 50-14-1(b)(3). The Act contains no limitation on commencement of a suit to make minutes and past agendas available to the public. See Guthrie v. Dalton School Dist., 213 Ga. App. 849, 446 S.E.2d 526 (1994).

    No ante litem notice is required in Open Meetings cases.  City of Statesboro v. Dabbs, 289 Ga. 669, 715 S.E.2d 73 (2011).

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  • Hawaii

    Suits to void a final action must be commenced within ninety days of the action. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-11.

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  • Idaho

    Upon receipt of written notice of an alleged open meeting violation, a governing body shall have 14 days to respond publicly and either acknowledge the open meeting violation and state an intent to cure the violation or state that the public agency has determined that no violation has occurred and that no cure is necessary. Idaho Code § 74-208(7)(a)(ii). Failure to respond shall be treated as a denial of any violation for purposes of proceeding with any enforcement action. Id.

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  • Illinois

    Civil action must be brought within sixty days from the time of the alleged violation, or within sixty days of the discovery of the alleged violation. See 5 ILCS 120/3(a).

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  • Indiana

    Any lawsuit must be filed before delivery of warrants, notes, bonds or obligations if the relief sought would have the effect of invalidating the notes, bonds or obligations; or within 30 days the act or failure to act or the date that the plaintiff knew or should have known that the act or failure to act had occurred (whichever is later). Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-7(b); see also see City of Jeffersonville v. Envtl. Mgmt. Corp., 954 N.E.2d 1000, 1010–11 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011) (holding that the management corporation waived its Open Door Law complaints by failing to file its complaint within the thirty day timeframe); Petit v. Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Comm’n, 511 N.E.2d 312, 316 (Ind. App. 1987) (The word “action” as used in Indiana Code Section 5-14-1.5-7 contemplates the filing of a lawsuit; objections to the failure to comply with the Open Door Law, standing alone, does not stop the thirty day timeframe for filing a complaint). If the challenged action is recorded in the memoranda or minutes of a governing body, a plaintiff is deemed to know of such act, at a minimum, as of that date. Id.

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  • Iowa

    Within 6 months of seeking to void the challenged action.

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  • Kansas

    A demand to comply with the KOMA is never too late and can be made seconds before the meeting is held, unless the issue is notice of the meeting. K.S.A. 75-4318 requires that notice of a meeting be requested before it is required to be given (note that other organizational statutes and ordinances require notice of meetings to be published without interconnection to KOMA).

    Experience has not shown agency officials to willingly establish and abide by guidelines for future meetings. Threatened legal action is usually required. Perceived determination of the reporter or other person seeking access is essential. Officials sometimes respond to ideological arguments for openness.

    Binding action taken in a meeting that violates the open meetings act is voidable in an action brought by district attorney or attorney general within 21 days of the meeting. K.S.A. 75-4320.

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  • Kentucky

    There is no specific statutory deadline for submitting the written complaint to the presiding officer of the public agency. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.846(1). Once the public agency responds, the complaining party must request review by the Attorney General within 60 days of the public agency's response. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.846(2). After the Attorney General issues a decision, either party has 30 days to appeal the decision by filing an action in Circuit Court.

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  • Louisiana

    Not specified except suits to void actions must be brought within 60 days of such action. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:24; Sandi's II, Itc. v. Assumption Parish Police Jury, 837 So. 2d 124 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2002) (dismissal of Open Meeting Law claims correct because brought beyond 60-day period). For obvious reasons, however, action to enforce the Open Meeting Law should be filed as promptly as possible after an alleged violation occurs.

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  • Maine

    A claim for violation of the open meetings act must be filed “within thirty days of discovering a possible violation.”  Palmer v. Portland Sch. Comm., 652 A.2d 86, 89 (Me. 1995); see also M.R.Civ.P. 80B, 80C.

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  • Maryland

    Upon receipt of the petition, the OMCB shall send a copy of the complaint to the identified public body requesting a response within 30 days. § 3-206(b)(1). If the OMCB has sufficient information based on the written materials before it, it shall issue a written opinion within 30 days of receiving the public body's response. § 3-207(a). Otherwise, it may conduct an informal conference with the parties or other appropriate persons to gather additional information. § 3-207(b). The Board shall then issue its opinion 30 days following the conference. Id.

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  • Massachusetts

    There is no formal administrative review procedure. As a practical matter, complaint to District Attorney must be within a few days of asserted violation.

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  • Montana

    Must be filed within 30 days of the challenged decision.

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  • Nebraska

    Closed meeting is void if successful suit filed within 120 days of meeting. Closed meeting is voidable if successful suit filed after 120 days from meeting, but before one year after meeting. Suit is time-barred if not filed within one year of meeting. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1414(1).

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  • Nevada

    A suit to void an action taken in violation of the law must be filed within 60 days. A suit to require compliance with the law must be brought within 120 days after the action objected to was taken by the public body. NRS 241.037.

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  • New Hampshire

    The Statute does not require that an action be initiated within any specific time period. But delay might have an impact on how the court views the merits of the case.

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  • New Mexico

    No administrative appeal procedure, no applicable administrative time limits.

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  • North Carolina

    There is no time limit set forth in the statute for seeking a ruling on the propriety of a closed session or for seeking injunctive relief. A suit brought under G.S. § 143-318.16A(b), however, must be brought within 45 days of the initial disclosure of the action.

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  • North Dakota

    The request for review of a denial of access to a meeting must be made within thirty days of the alleged violation, except that a request based on allegations that a meeting occurred without the required notice must be made within ninety days of the alleged violation. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.1(1).

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  • Ohio

    The statute requires that an injunction action authorized by the statute must be brought within two years after the date of the alleged violation or threatened violation. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(I)(1).

    The statute does not address mandamus actions or any time limit for bringing them.

    Otherwise, the statute imposes no time limits.

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  • Oklahoma

    The Open Meeting Act does not contain any time limits for challenging an unlawful act by a public body.

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  • Oregon

    Any challenge must be brought within 60 days. ORS 192.680(5).

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  • Rhode Island

    No complaint by the Attorney General may be filed after 180 days from the date of public approval of the minutes of the meeting at which the alleged violation occurred or, in the case of an unannounced or improperly closed meeting, after 180 days from the public action of a public body revealing the alleged violation, whichever is greater.  R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-8(b).

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  • South Carolina

    A suit must be filed within one year of the date of the alleged violation. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-100(a).

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  • Texas

    Strategically, a request for injunctive relief should be made as soon as possible after the problem arises such that a party’s rights can be preserved and a ruling can be received before, for example, another closed meeting takes place.  The same is true for a petition for writ of mandamus.

    That being said, there is no time limit specified in the Act for filing suit after the alleged violation, so the four-year residual statute of limitations applies. Rivera v. City of Laredo, 948 S.W.2d 787, 793 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1997, writ denied) (“[A]n action brought under the Open Meetings Act would fall under the four-year residual limitations period in Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.051 since the Act does not specify the amount of time a plaintiff has to bring an action for open meetings violations.”).

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  • Utah

    Not applicable.

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  • Vermont

    Prior to filing an action in court, an aggrieved party must provide the public body with written notice alleging the violation and requesting a specific cure of such violation.  1 V.S.A. § 314(b)(1).  The public body must respond within 10 days of receiving the written notice of the alleged violation either: (1) acknowledging the violation and stating an intent to cure the violation within 14 days or (2) stating that no violation has occurred and no cure is necessary.  Id. at (b)(2).  If the public body does not respond within 10 days, it is treated as a denial of the violation.  Id. at (b)(3).  Within 14 days after the acknowledgment of a violation, the public body must cure the violation at an open meeting by either: (1) ratifying or declaring as void any action taken in violation of the statute or (2) adopting specific measures that actually prevent future violations.  Id. at (b)4).

    An aggrieved party must bring an action in court “no later than one year after the meeting at which the alleged violation occurred or to which the alleged violation relates.”  1 V.S.A. § 314(c).

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  • Virginia

    A petition for mandamus or prohibition should be filed without unreasonable delay.

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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