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IN ARPA Required City to Disclose Cellular Phone Records of Public Officials; $3,400 Awarded in Atty Fees

AGENDA: OPEN GOVERNMENT, Inc. (Agenda) publishes a newsletter in Elkhart, Indiana (City). Its publisher requested of the City the cellular phone records of certain public officials, pursuant to the state Access to Public Records Act (APRA), Ind. Code § 5-14-3 et seq. The City refused, claiming that the records were exempt from disclosure because they were “administrative or technical information that jeopardized a record keeping or security system[.]” Agenda sued to compel disclosure. The trial court ruled for Agenda, also awarding $3,400 in attorney fees. The City appealed.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Indiana, 4th District, found the requested documents to be disclosable under the APRA, and the attorney fee award to be appropriate. It therefore categorically affirmed the trial court. See: City of Elkhartv. AGENDA: OPEN GOVERNMENT, Inc., 683 N.E.2d 622 (1997).

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