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Alabama Corporations Serving Municipalities Ordered to Comply With Open Records Act

The Water Works and Sewer Board (Board) of the City of Talladega, Alabama, appealed its court ordered subjection to records disclosure under the State's Open Records Act (Act). Consolidated Publishing, Inc. (Publisher), appealed the same ruling as to partial exemption of the documents. Judgment was affirmed excepting the production of a pending criminal investigation concerning two employees.

The Board's appeal claimed that they were a public corporation and hence not bound by the Act's provisions. The Publisher cross appealed the partial exemption and both parties claimed inaccurate filing strategies.

The Supreme Court of Alabama held that because the Board's employees were appointed by the City Council and performed functions for municipalities it was an agent of the municipalities and subject to the Act. It was determined that the exempt records involved disciplinary appeals by two of the Board's employees and, if disclosed prior to the appeal process conclusion, could deprive liberty interests. The matter was remanded for the determination of the records' status. See: Water Works and Sewer Board v. Consolidated Publishing, Inc., 829 So.2d 859 (Ala. 2004).

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Related legal case

Water Works and Sewer Board v. Consolidated Publishing, Inc.