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4. Any other recourse to encourage a response

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  • Alaska

    Not addressed.

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  • Arizona

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

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  • Arkansas

    In some situations, involving the Attorney General’s Office might resolve the matter. With respect to personnel and evaluation records, the FOIA allows (but does not require) the person making the request, the custodian of the records, or the person about whom the records are maintained to seek an opinion from the Attorney General. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(c)(3)(B) & (C). Otherwise, only the officials specified by statute (i.e., legislators, prosecuting attorneys, and heads of state agencies) may request formal opinions. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-16-706. Nevertheless, legislators often request opinions on behalf of their constituents. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office will answer questions about the FOIA. Calls should be directed to the opinions section at (501) 682-5086 or toll-free at 1-800-482-8982. In some cases, the Attorney General might be persuaded to request the same records and, upon denial of that request, bring an action under the FOIA to force disclosure. See Bryant v. Weiss, 335 Ark. 534, 983 S.W.2d 902 (1998).

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  • California

    Another recourse to encourage a response is to send a second letter, following up on the original request, setting forth statutory and case law support for disclosure and advising the agency that its delay is in violation of Section 6253(d) of the CPRA. Bringing public attention to the matter, through local media or public officials overseeing the agency also may prompt action.

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  • Colorado

    If the custodian denies access to any public record, the applicant may request a written statement of the grounds for the denial. The custodian's statement must cite the law or regulation under which access is denied. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-204(4).
    Further, the applicant may apply to the district court of the district wherein the record is found for an order directing the custodian of such record to show cause why the custodian should not permit the inspection of such record. However, at least three business days prior to filing an application with the court, the applicant must file a written notice with the custodian informing the custodian that the applicant intends to file such application. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-204(5). If the custodian denies access to any public record, the applicant may request a written statement of the grounds for the denial. The custodian's statement must cite the law or regulation under which access is denied. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-204(4).
    Further, the applicant may apply to the district court of the district wherein the record is found for an order directing the custodian of such record to show cause why the custodian should not permit the inspection of such record. However, at least three business days prior to filing an application with the court, the applicant must file a written notice with the custodian informing the custodian that the applicant intends to file such application. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-204(5).

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  • Connecticut

    FOIA does not address any other recourse.

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  • Delaware

    A citizen may petition the Attorney General to determine whether any violation of the Act has occurred or is about to occur. 29 Del. C. § 10005(e). The Attorney General has 20 days to make a written determination of whether a violation has occurred and to provide the custodian of records or the public body involved with a copy of the determination. If the Attorney General is obligated under state law to represent the agency, the Chief Deputy Attorney General must make a determination as to whether a violation occurred; if so, the Attorney General shall not represent the body in an appeal. For other agencies, if the Attorney General finds that a violation has occurred, the citizen may sue or request that the Attorney General file suit. If a request is made, the Attorney General shall notify the citizen within 15 days of the decision to file suit. The citizen has the absolute right to file suit regardless of the determination of the Attorney General and may move to intervene as a party in any suit filed by the Attorney General. 29 Del. C. § 10005(e).

    As a general rule, "for fairness and practical reasons," the Attorney General has stated that it will not "investigate events that occurred more than six months before [it] received the [FOIA] complaint." Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 02-ib10 (Apr. 24, 2002); see also Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 00-ib05 (Feb. 18, 2000). Also, the Attorney General's office will not grant requests for reconsideration of an opinion unless presented with new facts or controlling legal authority. Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 03-ib26 (Nov. 13, 2003).

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  • District of Columbia

    An appeal to the Mayor's office draws the attention of the agency, or the agency's FOIA officer, to a neglected FOIA request, and the matter may thereby be resolved. See, e.g., EJD Assocs. Inc. v. Office of the D.C. Controller, FOIA App. No. 95037 (Office of the Mayor, Sept. 26, 1995) (appeal of constructive denial dismissed because request was addressed).

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  • Georgia

    The Office of the Attorney General has established an Open Government Mediation Program “to help citizens with questions or concerns about local government’s decisions to close meetings to the public or governmental responses to Open Records requests.”  Further information, including a contact name and phone number, is available at: http://law.ga.gov/open-government-mediation-program.

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  • Hawaii

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Indiana

    To encourage a response, a savvy requester should seek the intervention of the agency’s legal officer or public relations officer, the requester’s legislator, or a political appointee in the agency who might be more responsive.

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  • Kansas

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Kentucky

    A person may bring a court action to enforce the Open Records Act. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.882(2). This may be done in lieu of an administrative appeal or after an unsuccessful administrative appeal. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.882(2).

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  • Louisiana

    Any person having custody or control of a public record who violates the Public Records Act is subject to criminal penalties. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:37. Arbitrary failure to respond may trigger $100 per day civil penalty against custodian. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:35(E).

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  • Maine

    The Act does not provide a means of recourse aside from an appeal in Superior Court.  However, persons frustrated with lack of response may contact others within an agency, elected representatives, the ombudsman appointed by the Attorney General to file a complaint (see 5 M.R.S.A. § 200-I), or the news media.  It is not unheard of for agencies and officials to revisit initial denials after consulting with legal counsel or the Office of the Attorney General.

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  • Maryland

    Where the delay is beyond the time limits imposed by the PIA, the Public Access Ombudsman is available to resolve disputes relating to requests for public records, including failures to produce a public record in a timely manner. § 4-1B-04(a). An applicant may also resort to judicial review. § 4-362.

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  • Massachusetts

    No legal recourse is available. Political pressure may be possible.

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  • Michigan

    The party may resubmit its request and bring suit. A party that resubmits an FOIA request does not lose the right to file suit on the issue of the initial denial. Krug v. Ingham County Sheriff's Office, 264 Mich. App. 475, 691 N.W.2d 50 (2004).

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  • Montana

    Threaten to bring court action and recover attorney’s fees.

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  • Nebraska

    If an agency refuses to respond to a written request for documents, there are several options:

    1. File an action in district court for speedy relief by a mandamus action.
    2. File a petition with the attorney general to review the matter to determine whether the custodian has failed to comply with the public records statutes. If the attorney general orders the custodian to disclose the record, and the agency fails to do so, the individual denied may sue in court or demand in writing that the attorney general sue the agency within fifteen (15) days.
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  • Nevada

    The public records official has a duty to assist the requester in making focused and effective requests. Outside of formal legal action, there is no recourse to expedite the public records request.

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  • New Jersey

    Often a phone call to an elected or politically appointed public official can be helpful, since these individuals usually are more responsive to the media than bureaucrats. Also a call from the newspaper's attorney to the attorney representing the public agency can be effective.

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  • New Mexico

    Telephone reminders and additional letters may encourage a response.

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  • North Carolina

    No formal routes. Informal can include escalation and reporting on delays and responses or lack thereof.

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  • Ohio

    Other practical recourse beyond complaining, but short of suit, is to seek help from the official's supervisor or to seek help from an elected official. Elected officials are often more responsive than appointed officials.

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  • Oklahoma

    Not applicable.

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  • Oregon

    See discussion above regarding ORS 192.407, enacted in 2017, concerning the ability to seek review for noncompliance with timing requirements.

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  • South Dakota

    Nothing in particular.

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  • Tennessee

    To encourage a response, the requester could communicate with the custodian to understand what records exist in an effort to narrow the search.

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  • Texas

    If the governmental body fails to make a timely request for an Attorney General’s opinion, “the information requested in writing is presumed to be subject to required public disclosure and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold the information.” Tex. Gov’t Code § 552.302. When a private third party’s interest is at stake, this acts as a compelling reason to overcome the presumption. Tex. Att’y Gen. ORD-319 (1982).

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  • Utah

    Not addressed.

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  • Vermont

    1 V.S.A. § 319 provides for enforcement proceedings in the Superior Court to enjoin the public agency from withholding agency records and to order the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant.  The statute also provides for attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs incurred by the person seeking the public records if he or she substantially prevails.  Id.

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  • Virginia

    Not addressed.

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  • West Virginia

    Typical approaches to encourage a response would include seeking the assistance of the press or an influential person whether within or without the public body. Another, method of informally encouraging a response is through the agency's legal advisor. The state Attorney General's office represents most state agencies and some agencies have their own "in-house counsel." Counties and political subdivisions usually obtain legal advice from the county prosecuting attorney or city attorney. If a public body's refusal seems to be clearly erroneous under the statute, and it is not based upon the advice of the public body's attorney, it may be worthwhile to ask the agency to consult with its lawyer. In some cases, a requester may want to contact the lawyer directly and seek his/her intervention on your behalf. In many cases, the agency's lawyer will be the Attorney General's office that may advise an agency (and a court reviewing the agency's action) that it considered the agency's refusal unjustified. A note of caution, the Office of the Attorney General at the time of publication of this edition of this Guide (2018) has not been as supportive of citizen and media rights of access to public records under the FOIA as have past occupants of the Office.

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