Records Access Case Law
Utah Supreme Court Cases
The editor of a student newspaper at Weber State University requested the names of college professors and other staff along with their specific gross salaries. The Court found that the rights of freedom of speech and of the press, and of the public to have and to publish the information as to the salaries paid to employees of the college, outweighs consideration as to the right of privacy of the employees, or of the institution to carry on its operations in secret. 606 P. 2d 1193 (1980).
A year later, the same student editor of a college newspaper requested specific information regarding the salaries of school staff as explained in Redding v. Brady; however, in the interim, the Utah Legislature had changed the law and adopted a statute specifically classifying professors’ salaries as not public (Information Practices Act). 638 P. 2d 503 (1981).
The summary judgment against the appellants held that the survey responses were not public records within the means of either the Archives and Records Service and Information Practices Act, U.C.A. , 1953, 63-2-59, or the Public and Private Writings Act, U.C.A., 1953 78-26-1, and were not required to be disclosed to the public. The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the district court for an in camera inspection of the questionnaires. Stating, the trial court should permit release unless it specifically finds it cannot redact and preserve confidentially. The justices determined, it is important that public policy favors free access to public records. The case was remanded to the district court for findings in accordance with this opinion. 689 P. 2d1357 (1984).
The court examined the five statutory conditions under which a court may release a protected record pursuant to a subpoena and found that, in this case, not all five requirements or conditions were satisfied. Therefore, the court was not permitted to release the pre-sentence report and the prosecutor could not use it as evidence in the retrial. 63 P. 3d 621 (2002).
In preparation for the appeal, Young requested that the County provide him with, among other records, copies of disciplinary records of other deputies who had been investigated and/or disciplined for similar conduct. The County denied the GRAMA request and appeal. Young requested a judicial review.
Medel filed several GRAMA requests in 2003. It is contested the State’s response to these requests indicates that the State failed to disclose certain evidence in its possession before it entered into plea negations with Medel. The Supreme Court affirm district court’s dismissal of Medel’s petition because it conclude that it failed to state a claim. Medel has not shown that his constitutional rights were violated or that he meets the requirements for relief based on newly discovered evidence that was not provided to him under GRAMA.
In this case the Salt Lake County felt their decision to deny the Deseret Morning News access to an investigative report of alleged sexual harassment was a lawful application of Utah's GRAMA. The lower court concluded that the County properly withheld the report. Deseret News disagreed. The Supreme court’s decision was that the County did not properly classify the investigative report as a private record under section 63-2-302(2)(d), and the public interest in the record’s release outweighs the potential personal privacy intrusion suffered. The Court found legitimate public interest in releasing the report and reversed and remanded. 182 P. 3d 372 (2008).
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and the Wilderness Society v. The Automated Geographic Reference Center, within the Division of Information Technology, and the Utah State Records Committee
The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) appeals the district court’s order affirming the State Records Committee’s denial of records sought by SUWA from The Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). The district court denied summary judgment to SUWA and granted summary judgment to the AGRC. The Conclusion SUWA’s request to the AGRC did not unreasonable duplicate a prior GRAMA request, and the AGRC is not excused from fulfilling the GRAMA request. (Cite as: 200 P.3d 643). SRC Ruling overturned, SRC Decision Case No. 05-06
Farley Anderson; Helen Anderson; Steven Maxfield; and Steven Maxfield v. Lt Governor Gregg Bell; Mark Thomas; Paul Neuenschwander; Spencer Hadley; and John Does 1-10
This case relates to but does not directly correlate to the April 28, 2010 Summons Mr. Maxfield served to the Records Committee. 234 P. 3d 1147 (2010). 2010 UT 47. SRC Decision Case No. 10-06.
The Utah Supreme Court essentially agreed that the disputed documents were subject to the attorney work product protection, but using the weighing provision in -404(8), found that the interest favoring access outweighs the interest favoring restriction of access. "[T]he State terminated its investigation years ago, so the interests favoring protection are not as compelling as those favoring disclosure. The case is remanded back to the district court for a determination if attorney fees are warranted, and appropriate redactions for the records ordered to be released. SRC Ruling Upheld. SRC Decision Case No. 11-12.
Salt Lake City vs. Jordan River Restoration Network (JRRN), Salt Lake City Records Appeals Board, and State Records Committee
When reviewing a decision of a governmental entity regarding a denial of a fee waiver, the reviewing body assesses whether the entity properly considered the circumstances under which GRAMA encourages a fee waiver and then determines whether the entity’s decision was reasonable. JRRN also clarifies that in an appeal to the district court, the appealing party has the burden of proof for the appeal. SRC Decision Case No. 10-14.
Page Last Updated December 27, 2021 .