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UPDATED: Personal Notes Used for Personal Purposes Only Found Not to Be Public Records

In the case of Ault v. Durbin, 2022-Ohio-4826, a special master concluded that the personal notes of a councilperson were not public records as such notes were kept for personal use only.

In this case, the requester argued that the personal notes of the councilperson were required to be maintained as public records. In response, the councilperson argued that the notes were taken for the personal convenience of the councilperson and, therefore, such notes are not required to be maintained by city council as they are not records of the office. The special master agreed with the councilperson.

In support of the special master’s recommendation, the special master explained that the requestor did not meet the requestor’s burden of proving that the personal notes were used for non-personal purposes. And, in any event, the special master also highlighted the fact that the councilperson used these personal notes to make a statement at a council meeting and the councilperson’s statement was recorded and posted by the city.

To read this report and recommendation, click here.

UPDATE: On February 14, 2023, the Ohio Court of Claims adopted the special master’s report and recommendation, which can be viewed by clicking 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.


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