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Alabama Court Allows City Clerk's Addition To Records Request Statute

Alabama citizen and suit representative Kay Blankenship appealed a 1991 court ruling delaying her petition for injunction and allowing Hoover City Finance Director Richard Smith to require written reasoning for public records requests. Blankenship refused to comply and brought action.

Blankenship's appeal claimed that citizens were not statutorily required to give a reason for records requests under the Alabama Open Records Act (Act) and that Smith's "refusal was not protected by any exception to disclosure nor any privilege which Hoover has asserted." The City of Hoover (Hoover) argued that citizens could not harass public officials, abuse their records, and refuse to state a legitimate interest in the requested documents and that Blankenship's intent was only to hinder the performance of Smith's duties.

The Supreme Court of Alabama held that Hoover could require compliance with the form for intent prior to granting requests as long as it was not done to prevent access to the records. The dissent would have reversed the petition's denial for injunction against the form. See: Blankenship v. City of Hoover, 590 S0.2d 245 (Ala. 1991).

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Related legal case

Blankenship v. City of Hoover