Thank you to all those who attended our March 7 CLE, Access to Public Records: An Introduction to Using and Refusing under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act. We had a wonderful turnout and very thoughtful audience participation. Thank you also to Anne Ricchiuto and Stephanie Boxell of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP for sharing their APRA experience and knowledge with us. Some of their principal pointers include:
- All types of attorneys (and members of the public) can use APRA to obtain a wide range of public records, including e-mails, text messages, and social media posts concerning public business, from Indiana’s public agencies. Requests for electronic records should specify the sender(s), recipient(s), time frame, and key words or subject matter of the requested records to satisfy APRA’s “reasonable particularity” requirement and expedite the agency’s response. Some agencies may provide forms for these types of requests, but requestors may also submit their requests in person or through a written letter to the agency.
- Indiana’s public records statutes are not the same as civil discovery statutes. Public agencies must provide records responsive to public records requests unless APRA excepts them from disclosure and, even then, must provide all portions of the record that APRA does not permit or require the agency to withhold and must state its basis for withholding the rest. APRA furthers Indiana’s policies of transparency and liberal disclosure of public records.
- Indiana’s Public Access Counselor is a resource for public agencies and members of the public seeking an interpretation of APRA, or a requestor seeking to challenge an alleged wrongful denial of records. A requestor challenging an agency’s alleged wrongful refusal to disclose records may file a formal complaint with the PAC and/or may file suit in Indiana state court. Under certain circumstances, a requestor who prevails in court may recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs, and the court may also impose civil penalties.
If you have questions about this CLE, Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act, or an APRA dispute, please contact Anne Ricchiuto or Stephanie Boxell.
If you missed the seminar, you can purchase it online here.
If you would like to submit content or write an article for the E-Discovery, Information Governance & Cybersecurity Section, please email Kara Sikorski at firstname.lastname@example.org.