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C. Court review of administrative decision


  • Alabama

    Alabama has no administrative procedure for consideration of Alabama Open Meetings Act challenges and thus has no provision for court review of administrative decisions. The court procedures described in this section are the only procedures available to adjudicate Alabama Open Meetings Act challenges.

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

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  • Arkansas

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

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  • Colorado

    Enforcement by Injunction. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(9) provides that upon the application of "any citizen" of the State of Colorado, an injunction may be issued by any court of record to enforce the purposes of the Sunshine Law. See Bagby v. School District No. 1, 186 Colo. 428, 528 P.2d 1299 (1974).

    A person who desires to require a public body to hold open or public meetings or hearings should apply to the district court of the district where the public body meets for an injunction pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(9) and Colo. R. Civ. P. 65. See, e.g., Benson v. McCormick, 195 Colo. 381, 578 P.2d 651 (1978); Associated Students v. Regents of Univ. of Colo., 189 Colo. 482, 543 P.2d 59 (1975). The injunction should be sought to order the public body to cease and desist holding further closed meetings or executive sessions to the exclusion of the public.

    Procedure for Injunctive Relief:

    Temporary Restraining Order. A person denied access to a meeting may be granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) without written or oral notice to the adverse party only if: (1) it clearly appears from specific facts shown by affidavit, verified complaints, or testimony that immediate and irreparable injury will result to the applicant before the adverse party can be heard; and (2) the applicant's attorney certifies the efforts made to give notice and the reasons supporting the claim that notice is not required. Colo. R. Civ. P. 65(b).

    TROs may not exceed 10 days, and a motion for preliminary injunction shall be set for hearing at the earliest possible time and take precedence over all matters except similar older matters.

    In general, a TRO should only be sought to restrain a public body from closing a single meeting.

    However, a court has no authority to issue a TRO or order enjoining an administrative board or agency from holding a scheduled hearing altogether, Banking Board v. District Court, 177 Colo. 77, 492 P.2d 837 (1972).

    Preliminary Injunction.

    Upon notice to the adverse party, a person may seek a preliminary injunction restraining a public body from meeting in closed session. Colo. R. Civ. P. 65(a)(1).

    The court may order a hearing on an application for a preliminary injunction consolidated with the trial on the merits. Colo. R. Civ. P. 65(a)(2).

    Mandatory Injunction. If merely restraining a public body from meeting in secret will not grant effective relief, the court may make the injunction mandatory and order all subsequent meetings to be open to the public. See Colo. R. Civ. P. 65(f).

    Bond for Costs. Any party seeking a TRO or injunction may be required to give security pursuant to Colo. R. Civ. P. 65(c), which may be in the form of a cash bond, surety bond, property bond, or letter of credit. See Colo. R. Civ. P. 121 § 1-23.

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  • Connecticut

    An appeal from a decision of the FOIC may be taken to the Superior Court. The procedure for such an appeal is discussed above. Records Outline at V.D.

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  • Delaware

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Georgia

    Georgia superior courts have jurisdiction to enforce the Act’s requirements. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-5(a).

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  • Kentucky

    If timely appealed, a Circuit Court may review the Attorney General’s decision under the Open Meetings Act. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.846(4).

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  • North Dakota

    North Dakota law also provides for court action:

    44-04-21.2. Remedies for violations and enforcement procedure.

    1. A violation of section 44-04-18, 44-04-19, 44-04-19.2, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21 may be the subject of a civil action brought by an interested person or entity. For an alleged violation of section 44-04-18, the complaint must be accompanied by a dated, written request for the requested record. If a court finds that any of these sections have been violated by a public entity, the court may award declaratory relief, an injunction, a writ of prohibition or mandamus, costs, disbursements, and reasonable attorney’s fees against the entity. For an intentional or knowing violation of section 44-04-18, 44-04-19, 44-04-19.2, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21, the court may also award damages in an amount equal to one thousand dollars or actual damages caused by the violation, whichever is greater. An action under this subsection must be commenced within sixty days of the date the person knew or should have known of the violation or within thirty days of issuance of an attorney general’s opinion on the alleged violation, whichever is later. Venue for an action is in the county where the entity has its principal office or, if the entity does not have a principal office within the state, in Burleigh County.

    2. Any action that is a product of a violation of section 44-04-19, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21 is voidable by a court in a civil action authorized by this section.

    3. The remedies provided in this section are not available if a violation of section 44-04-18, 44 04-19, 44-04-19.2, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21 has been corrected before a civil action is filed and no person has been prejudiced or harmed by the delay. An interested person or entity may not file a civil action under this section seeking attorney’s fees or damages, or both, until at least three working days after providing notice of the alleged violation to the chief administrative officer for the public entity. This subsection does not apply if the attorney general has found under section 44-04-21.1, on a prior occasion, that the public entity has violated section 44-04-18, 44-04-19, 44-04-19.2, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21.

    44-04-21.3. Attorney general referral and criminal penalties.

    The attorney general may refer to the appropriate state’s attorney any public servant as defined in section 12.1-01-04 who has been found in more than one opinion issued pursuant to section 44 04-21.1 to have violated section 44-04-18, 44-04-19, 44-04-19.2, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21. A public servant as defined in section 12.1-01-04 who knowingly violates section 44-04-18, 44-04 19, 44-04-19.2, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21 is guilty of an offense under section 12.1-11-06.

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  • Ohio

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

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  • South Dakota

    Technically, there is not a review, but an original court proceeding.

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  • Tennessee

    This is the starting place for any formal challenge to a closed meeting. In pursuing a court case, the petitioner must have more than “speculative evidence” that a secret meeting was conducted. Watson v. Waters, 375 S.W. 3d 282 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2012). In Watson, citizens challenged a public meeting claiming that county commissioners must have had an earlier secret meeting to have so quickly in agreeing in a public meeting to the adoption of procedural rules of significant consequence. All the commissioners, however, filed affidavits with the court stating there was no secret meeting. Therefore the court dismissed the lawsuit.

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  • West Virginia

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

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  • Wyoming

    Wyo. Stat. § 16-3-114(b) gives the Supreme Court the authority to determine the content of the record upon review, the pleadings to be filed, the time and manner for filing pleadings, records and other documents and the extent to which supplemental testimony and evidence may be taken or considered by the district court. Such rules would supersede existing statutory provisions.

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