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4. Contents of appeal letter

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  • Alaska

    An appeal must include the date of the denial and the name and address of the person issuing the denial. It must also identify the records to which access was denied that are still sought and are the subject of the appeal. If you are appealing because you received no response within the time limits set out in the regulations, you must say so, and identify the records you are seeking and the agency to which the request was directed and the date of your request. 2 AAC 96.340(b). Although the regulations do not require this, it is implicit that you should explain the reasons why you disagree with the decision made by the agency and contend that you are entitled to access.

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  • Arizona

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

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  • Arkansas

    There is no administrative appeal process from the denial of a request. See part V.D.4, infra, for the issues that a court will address and see part V.D.5, infra, for the appropriate pleading format.

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  • Connecticut

    The notice of appeal should request a hearing on the denial, and it should state (1) the date of the request; (2) the public agency involved; (3) the public records requested; and (4) the date of the denial. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-206(b)(1).  FOIA does not require the plaintiff to refute the reasons for denial of access.

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  • Delaware

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

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  • District of Columbia

    The appeal should be as specific as possible and present the arguments, circumstances or reasons in support of disclosure. It should also include copies of the request and denial. Recorded appeal decisions often refer to submissions filed by the appealing requester which include case citations and legal argument.

    The appeal letter itself and the outside of the envelope it is in should indicate that it is a Freedom of Information Act Appeal.

    The appeal should be as specific as possible and present the arguments, circumstances or reasons in support of disclosure. It should also include copies of the request and denial. Recorded appeal decisions often refer to submission filed by the appealing requester which include case citations and legal argument.

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  • Georgia

    The Act does not require or otherwise provide for administrative appeals.

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  • Hawaii

    An appeal to the OIP of an agency’s denial of access to its records must include:

    Sufficient information about the appellant to enable the OIP to contact and correspond with the appellant;

    Clearly identify or describe the records or information to which access has been denied and for which review is being sought;

    Include a copy of the agency’s written denial of access or a copy of the appellant’s written statement that the agency has failed to respond to the request for records or information within the time period provided for under Haw. Rev. Stat. ch. 92F and Haw. Code R. ch. 2-71.

    Haw. Code R. § 2-73-12(c). However, where an appeal is otherwise substantiated, the Director has the discretion to accept the appeal without written documentation of the request or the agency response. Id.

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  • Idaho

    Not applicable.

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  • Illinois

    The request for review must be in writing, signed by the requester, and include (i) a copy of the request for access to records and (ii) any responses from the public body. See 5 ILCS 140/9.5(a).

    Each public body denying a request for public records must provide the requester written reasons for the denial, including a detailed factual basis for the application of any exemption claimed.  5 ILCS 140/9(a).  When claiming that a record is exempt under any of the exemptions listed in 5 ILCS 140/7, the public body must specify the exemption claimed to authorize the denial and the specific reasons for the denial, including a detailed factual basis and a citation to supporting legal authority.  5 ILCS 140/9(b).

    If a requester believes that he was improperly denied access to public records, he can initiate a request for review with the Public Access Counselor.  See 5 ILCS 9; 5 ILCS 9.5.

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  • Indiana

    Because there is no administrative appeals process, there is no appeal letter. However, the form for formal complaints to the Public Access Counselor can be found here: https://www.in.gov/pac/2472.htm.

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  • Iowa

    "The petition for review shall name the agency as respondent and shall contain a concise statement of: (a) the nature of the agency action which is the subject of the petition; (b) the particular agency action appealed from; (c) the facts on which venue is based; (d) the grounds on which relief is sought; and (e) the relief sought." Iowa Code § 17A.19(4).

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  • Kentucky

    When appealing to the Attorney General, the requester should attach a copy of the requester's written request to the public agency and a copy of the written response that denies inspection. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.880(2)(a).

    When appealing the agency’s denial, a party may assert that the denial is contrary to the provisions of Open Records Act or that the agency's actions constitute an attempt to circumvent the purposes of the Act, including but not limited to imposition of excessive fees or the misdirection of the of the requesting party. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.880(2)(a)(4).

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  • Maine

    The Act does not provide for administrative appeal.

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  • Maryland

    There is no particular format or required contents for an appeal to the Public Access Ombudsman.  For an appeal to the State Public Information Act Compliance Board for imposition of a fee greater than $350, the applicant or a designated representative should file a written complaint including the information required in § 4-1A-05(a)-(b).

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Montana

    There are no procedures for appeal of the denial of a request. The only remedy available is top go directly to court. Often times a letter from an attorney setting forth the merits of disclosure and the risk of paying the requestor’s attorney fees will cause the agency to produce the documents.

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  • Nebraska

    No law specifies the content of a petition to the Attorney General.

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  • New Jersey

    An appeal should include a verified complaint setting forth the appellant’s identity, the records relevant to the appeal, whether the appellant received a response to his or her records request, the substance of that response, whether any redactions were made and why the requestor deems the response to be unsatisfactory. The appeal should also set forth any conversations the appellant had with the custodian of the records about the request. An appellant should also set forth the facts and legal arguments supporting his or her case.

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  • New Mexico

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • North Carolina

    There is no provision for administrative appeal, by letter or otherwise.

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  • Oklahoma

    Not applicable.

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  • Oregon

    The Public Records Law prescribes a form of petition for reviewing a denied public records request. ORS 192.422. The petition should describe with particularity the records sought. Specifically, the petition must: (1) identify the requester, (2) identify the public body that has the records being sought, (3) identify the records that are sought, (4) include a statement that inspection was requested, and (5) include a statement that the request was denied, including the person denying the request, and the date of the denial, if known.

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  • Rhode Island

    The APRA does not impose specific requirements for the contents of appeal letters, but it is good practice to include a description of the records sought, a request that the agency consider the letter a petition for review to the chief administrative officer pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-8(a), the reasons given for denial, and a statement refuting those reasons.

     

    It is good practice to include a description of the records or portions of records to which access was denied in the appeal letter.  And reasons given for denial and a statement refuting those reasons.

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  • South Carolina

    Not applicable in South Carolina.

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  • South Dakota

    See SDCL §§1-27-38 (1) through (6).   A copy of the written request is required. SDCL §1-27-38 (4).   A copy of any denial or response is required, but no refutation is required. SDCL §1-27-38(5)

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  • Utah

    The notice of appeal shall include the petitioner’s name, address, and daytime phone number, as well as the relief sought. Utah Code § 63G-2-401(2). The notice of appeal also may include a statement of the facts and legal support for the claim. Id. § 63G-2-401(3).

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  • Vermont

    There are no statutory requirements for the appeal to the agency head; it is not even required that it be in writing, although in practice it should be to be of any real use. The appeal need not explain why the denial is erroneous, but it probably would be helpful. At the very least the appeal should attach or refer to the written denial of the custodian and state that it is being appealed.

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  • West Virginia

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

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