State Records Committee Appeal Decision 2019-32
BEFORE THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE OF THE STATE OF UTAH
ANDREW GULLIFORD, Petitioner, v.
SAN JUAN COUNTY, Respondent.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 19-32
By this appeal, Petitioner, Andrew Gulliford, seeks access to records allegedly held by Respondent, San Juan County.
On or about January 11, 2019, Mr. Gulliford made a request for a record pursuant to the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”). Mr. Gulliford requested records related to the Bears Ears National Monument from 2016 – 2018 for:
1. All work products, opinions, and documents sent to the county by Davillier Law Group;
2. Billing and hourly rates of the attorneys not on the county payroll;
3. Copies of all written correspondence including emails between the Davillier Group and San Juan County; and
4. Copies of Contracts with the attorneys involved.
Mr. Gulliford was granted the records request as it relates to request number 2 and 4, but was denied request number 1 and 3. Mr. Gulliford appealed the denial of request number 1 and 3, and on April 19, 2019, the CAO, Kelly Pehrson upheld the denial based on the classification of the records as attorney client privilege pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-305(17).
On or about May 9, 2019, Mr. Gulliford filed an appeal with the State Records Committee (“Committee”), of a denial notice from Kelly Pehrson, Chief Administrative Officer for San Juan County. The parties appeared before the Committee for a hearing on September 12, 2019. At the hearing, the Committee determined that the matter would need to be continued in order to allow the Committee to conduct an in camera. review of the records to determine: (1) Whether the information was properly classified; and (2) Whether the records could be released pursuant to the weighing provision found in Utah Code § 63G-2-403(9) & (11).
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT the appeal of Petitioner, Andrew Gulliford, is CONTINUED until the next scheduled Committee hearing.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
A party to a proceeding before the Committee may seek judicial review in District Court of a Committee's Order by filing a petition for review of the Committee Order as provided in Utah Code § 63G-2-404. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(14). A petition for judicial review of a Committee Order "shall be filed no later than 30 days" after the date of the Committee Order. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1)(a). The petition for judicial review must be a complaint which is governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and include the Committee as a necessary party and contain the required information listed in Subsection -404(2). Utah Code § 63G-2-404(1) & (2). The court shall make its decision de novo but shall allow introduction of evidence presented to the Committee, determine all questions of fact and law without a jury, and decide the issue at the earliest practical opportunity. Utah Code § 63G-2-404(6). In order to protect a parties’ rights on appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Pursuant to Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(c), if the Committee orders the governmental entity to produce a record and no appeal is filed, the government entity herein shall comply with the order of the Committee and shall: (1) Produce the record; and (2) File a notice of compliance with the Committee. If the governmental entity ordered to produce a record fails to file a notice of compliance or a notice of intent to appeal, the Committee may do either or both of the following: (1) Impose a civil penalty of up to $500 for each day of continuing noncompliance; or (2) Send written notice of the entity's noncompliance to the Governor. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(i)(B). In imposing a civil penalty, the Committee shall consider the gravity and circumstances of the violation, including whether the failure to comply was due to neglect or was willful or intentional. Utah Code § 63G-2-403(15)(d)(ii).
Entered this 23rd day of September 2019.
BY THE STATE RECORDS COMMITTEE
TOM HARALDSEN, Chair
State Records Committee
Page Last Updated September 23, 2019 .