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a. Open the meeting

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  • Alabama

    If the meeting is on-going, the court may address the question of opening the meeting. See Ex parte Consolidated Publishing Co., 601 So. 2d 423 (Ala.) (First Amendment, not open meetings law, decision), cert. denied, 113 S. Ct. 665 (1992); Ex parte Birmingham News Co., 624 So. 2d 1117 (Ala. Crim App. 1993).

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  • Alaska

    If the meeting has not already occurred, but closure has been threatened prospectively, the court can certainly order that the meeting be conducted in accordance with the open meetings law.

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  • Arizona

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

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  • Arkansas

    If the suit is filed prior to the meeting, the court may order the governing body to hold an open session or issue a declaratory judgment that a closed meeting would violate the FOIA. See Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-107(c).

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  • California

    The court has the discretion to order a meeting to be open if it does not fit within one of the exemptions specifically authorized by the relevant Act. The court may also require the body to tape record its future closed sessions and preserve the recordings if past violations of closed session requirements are found. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11130(b) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54960(b) (Brown Act). The tapes will then be subject to discovery procedures, although only under those procedures outlined by the Acts. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11130(c)(2) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54960 (Brown Act)(c)(2).

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  • Colorado

    Injunctive relief is authorized by Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(9) to order that meetings be open, and that all future meetings be open.

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  • Connecticut

    The court may provide this remedy at its discretion.

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  • Delaware

    A court will decide whether the meeting was subject to the open meeting provisions of the Act, which kind of meeting it was, and whether it should have been open (or closed) to the public. A court can also determine whether the meeting was properly noticed and that the meeting was conducted within the scope of the agenda.

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  • District of Columbia

    If the court finds that an official action was taken in violation of the Open Meetings Act, it may require the public body to open the meeting.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-579(c)(1).

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  • Georgia

    The court may grant an injunction or other equitable relief to enforce compliance with the Act, including requiring that a meeting be open. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-5(a).

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  • Hawaii

    Yes. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-12(c).

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  • Indiana

    A court may open the meeting via declaratory relief. See Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-7(a)(1); see also Marion-Adams Sch. Corp. v. Boone, 840 N.E.2d 462, 468 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006) (granting declaratory judgment to prevent violation of Open Door Law).

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  • Iowa

    Not an available option.

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  • Kentucky

    Generally, a court order instructing the agency to open its meeting is not available unless the party is aware the meeting will be closed far in advance of the meeting.

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  • Louisiana

    Yes; writ of mandamus or injunctive relief is available. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:26.

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  • Maine

    The Court may order that a meeting be open to the public.

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  • Maryland

    The court is expressly authorized to issue an injunction under the Act. § 3-401(d)(2). Thus, the court may enjoin the public body from closing meetings or committing future violations of the Act. See § 3-401(b).

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  • Massachusetts

    Pre-meeting litigation is extremely rare but theoretically possible.

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  • Michigan

    "[I]f a public body is not complying with [the OMA], the attorney general, prosecuting attorney of the county in which the public body serves, or person may commence a civil action to compel compliance or enjoin further noncompliance with [the Act]." Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.271 (1). Injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy which issues only when justice requires and there is no adequate remedy at law, and when there is real and imminent danger of irreparable injury. Wexford County Prosecuting Attorney, supra, 268 N.W.2d at 348; see also Booth Newspapers Inc. v . University of Michigan Board of Regents, supra, 507 N.W.2d at 431 (enjoining university board of regents from future use of subquorum committees to reach decision or hiring new university president). A person commencing an action for injunctive relief is not required to post security as a condition for obtaining a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.271(2).

    A court may order that the minutes of an improperly closed meeting be subject to disclosure. The Detroit News v. City of Detroit, supra, 460 N.W.2d at 315-316.

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  • Montana

    Courts will issue injunctions requiring meetings to be opened or enjoining the presiding officer from closing a meeting in violation of the statute. The court may also void the decision or order prospective relief requiring future meetings to be open.

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  • Nebraska

    Although there is no specific statutory authority, it is possible that a party may be able to obtain a temporary restraining order against a contemplated violation of Open Meetings Act.

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  • Nevada

    A court can grant an injunction requiring an open meeting.

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  • New Mexico

    A court could require a meeting be open.

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  • North Carolina

    The courts have the ability to render mandatory injunctive relief to enjoin a continuing violation of the Open Meetings Law. G.S. § 143-318.16.

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  • North Dakota

    The court may award declaratory relief, an injunction, or a writ of probation or mandamus against the public entity, which could include opening the meeting. See N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.2(1).

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  • Ohio

    The court will order the meeting at issue to be open. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(I)(1).

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  • Oklahoma

    No cases have been reported concerning the opening of a meeting.

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  • Oregon

    A court might order future meetings to be open.

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  • Rhode Island

    The court may issue injunctive relief. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-8(d).

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  • South Carolina

    The court could order a meeting opened.

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  • Texas

    Through a proper request, the Court may order that the meeting be open. See id.

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  • Utah

    A court may compel compliance with the Open Meetings Act. Utah Code § 52-4-303(3)(a).

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  • Vermont

    In practice, interested persons — e.g., news reporters — try to make their concerns known to the public body as loudly and as early as possible, in the hopes that logic, or more likely political acumen, will influence the body’s decision not to go into a questionably legitimate executive session. The reality is that almost all such situations are likely to have already occurred, especially where local boards typically meet in the evening hours, before there is even an opportunity to pursue judicial relief.  There are no reported cases of a court ordering that a meeting be opened prior to the meeting having already been held.  The most common relief ordered for a violation of the Open Meeting Law is to invalidate the decision and order that the public body hold a new meeting that complies with the requirements of the statute.  See, e.g., Moorcroft v. Town of Brookfield, No. 147-7-10, 2011 Vt. Super. LEXIS 81, *8 (Vt. Super. Orange County Nov. 8, 2011); Kevan v. Town of Randolph Selectboard, No. 137-7-05 2006 Vt. Super. LEXIS 7, *12 (Vt. Super. Orange County July 31, 2006).

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  • Virginia

    Although mandamus and injunctive relief are available, this remedy often is not available given that closure of a meeting has already taken place.

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  • West Virginia

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

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  • Wisconsin

    Except in rare cases, the action has been brought to determine whether the meeting should have been open, whether proper notice was given or proper procedure to close was followed in the statutory forfeiture. In rare cases, simple declaratory relief has been sought. See State ex rel. Lynch v. Conta, 71 Wis. 2d 662, 239 N.W.2d 313 (1976).

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  • Wyoming

    Citizens may seek injunctive relief to prevent a body from meeting in secret.  See concurrence of Justice Marilyn Kite in Cheyenne Newspapers v. City of Cheyenne Building Code Board of Appeals.

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