In the case of State ex rel. Griffin v. Szoke, Slip Opinion No. 2023-Ohio-3096, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the inmate could not recover statutory damages for failure to respond to a public records request when the inmate failed to seek clarification regarding instructions on how to obtain the requested information.
In this case, the inmate argued that the warden’s assistant improperly denied the request by directing the inmate to another individual and delayed producing the requested public records. In response, the warden’s assistant argued that the warden’s assistant directed the inmate to request the records from a separate individual, and produced the documents once the mandamus action was filed, which did not constitute an undue delay. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the warden’s assistant.
In support of its decision in favor of the warden’s assistant, the Ohio Supreme Court explained that the inmate would have needed to show that the warden’s assistant intentionally withheld the public records.
In the dissenting opinion, the Ohio Supreme Court explained that the inmate did not receive the public records that were requested for over one month until after the mandamus action was filed, which would permit the inmate to receive the maximum statutory amount of $1,000.
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.