Subscribe to School Law Newsletter
Close Window

Attorney Fees and Statutory Damages Awarded For Bad Faith Violation of Public Records Act

In the case of State ex rel. Cleveland Assn. of Rescue Emps. v. Cleveland, 2022-Ohio-3043, the Appellate Court granted the union’s mandamus action brought against the city of Cleveland to compel the release of emails of certain city employees.

Here, the union submitted a request to the city for the release of emails of certain city employees, but the city refused to comply, first stating that the request was overly broad, and then refusing to accept certified mail from the union and the court because the addressees no longer held the positions listed in the addresses. The city finally released the emails after a hearing and alternative writ by this Court, but no settlement was reached on statutory damages nor attorney fees.

In support of its decision, the Court reasoned that the union’s initial request for records was reasonable because it stated with clarity what records were being requested and the initial request was limited in scope. The Court also found that the city’s refusal to accept certified mail from the court and the union was in bad faith, even though the addressees no longer held the relevant positions, and thus the union was entitled to the full amount of requested attorney fees. Lastly, the Court found that the union was entitled to statutory damages because the city failed to comply with an obligation under division (B) of the Public Records Act.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.