Justia Communications Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court denied Relator's request seeking a writ of mandamus ordering the public-records officer for the Ohio Adult Parole Authority (APA) to produce records that Relator claimed to have requested under Ohio's Public Records Act, Ohio Rev. Code 149.43, holding that Relator was not entitled to the writ.In his mandamus action, Relator alleged that he sent a public-records request to the APA's public-records officer seeking public records from the personnel files of six Ohio Parole Board members who were members of the panel for Relator's parole hearing and that the officer had not responded to his request. The Supreme Court denied mandamus relief, holding that because Relator failed to provide evidence to demonstrate that he delivered the alleged public-records request to the APA at all, Relator was not entitled to relief in mandamus. View "State ex rel. Griffin v. Doe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's mandamus petition against Judge Steven Beathard as moot on the ground that Judge Beathard had already performed the requested act, holding that the court of appeals properly dismissed this action as moot.While incarcerated, Appellant filed a mandamus action seeking an order directing Judge Beathard to provide him with a free copy of the transcript from his criminal trial. Appellant subsequently received a copy of the transcript. The court of appeals dismissed Appellant's petition in mandamus as moot based on his admitted receipt of the trial transcript. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals did not err in dismissing this case as moot. View "State ex rel. Davidson v. Beathard" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's complaint for a writ of mandamus to compel the production of public records, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Appellant, an inmate, sent a public-records request to Julie Loomis, who provided some, but not all, of the requested records. Appellant filed an original action seeking to compel Loomis to make the remaining requested records available for his inspection. On remand, the court of appeals dismissed the complaint based on Appellant's failure to strictly comply with the mandatory requirements of Ohio Rev. Code 2969.25(A). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant was required to comply with the requirements of section 2969.25(A); and (2) the court of appeals did not err by not converting Loomis's motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. View "State ex rel. Bey v. Loomis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part the application of Charles Summers for court costs, attorney fees, and statutory damages following the Court's grant of a writ of mandamus ordering Respondents to produce documents to Summers, holding that Summers was entitled to an award of court costs.This case concerned Summers's request for public records relating to his son's criminal case. Summers sent the requests to Respondents - Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Fox and Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey. When court-ordered mediation resulted in Summers receiving some, but not all, of the documents that he had requested the Supreme Court granted his writ of mandamus in part and denied it in part. Summers then filed his petition for an award of court costs, statutory damages, and attorney fees. The Supreme Court held (1) Summers was entitled to court costs; (2) Summers's status as the prevailing party in his mandamus action did not entitle him to an award of attorney fees, nor was he entitled to an award of bad-faith attorney fees; and (3) Summers was not entitled to an award of statutory damages. View "State ex rel. Summers v. Fox" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Kimani Ware's request for a writ of mandamus to compel the production of records in response to his eight public-records requests, denied Ware's request for an in camera inspection of the records, and denied statutory damages, holding that Ware was not entitled to a writ of mandamus as to the public-records requests.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Ware was not entitled to a writ of mandamus as to requested docket sheets and grand jury reports; (2) because the clerk's office offered to make the remaining public records requested by Ware available and identified the cost for copying them, Ware was not entitled to a writ of mandamus as to those public-records requests; (3) an inspection of the records was unnecessary, and therefore, Ware's request for an in camera inspection was unnecessary; and (4) Ware was not entitled to statutory damages. View "State ex rel. Ware v. Giavasis" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant's request for a writ of mandamus against Governor Mike DeWine, holding that Appellant failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence a clear legal right to the requested relief and a clear legal duty on the part of the Governor to provide it.Appellant, an inmate, sent a public-records request to the Governor requesting certain documents. Appellant later filed this action seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the production of the documents. The court of appeals denied the writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that where the evidence showed that the Govenor's office satisfied its duty to make the records available by sending them to the correctional institution at which Appellant was an inmate, Appellant was not entitled to his requested relief. View "State ex rel. Ware v. DeWine" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus sought by Relator, an inmate at the Toledo Correction Institution, ordering the production of shift rosters that show the duty assignments of correctional officers within the prison, holding that the shift rosters are security records exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act.Respondent, the public-records custodian at TCI, withheld the requested records from Relator on the basis that they were "security records" exempt from public-records disclosure under Ohio Rev. Code 149.433(A) and (B). Relator then filed this action seeking a writ of mandamus ordering Respondent to produce the requested records. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that the shift rosters are security records exempt from public records disclosure under section 149.433(A) and (B). View "State ex rel. Burfitt v. Sehlmeyer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part and denied in part Jerone McDougald's writ of mandamus to compel Larry Greene to provide documents in response to McDougald's public-records request, holding that McDougald was entitled to a writ of mandamus compelling Greene to allow him personally to inspect two of the three records he sought.McDougald, an inmate at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF), sent a public-records request to Greene, the records custodian at SOCF, requesting to inspect three records. When Greene did not allow the inspection, McDougald filed the present complaint for a writ of mandamus. Also pending was McDougald's motion to consider the exhibits attached to his complaint as substantive evidence and his two motions for leave to amend. The Supreme Court granted the motion to consider evidence, granted in part and denied in part the writ of mandamus, and denied McDougald's request for an award of statutory damages, holding (1) McDougald was entitled to a writ of mandamus with respect to his request for two of the three records he requested; and (2) McDougald was not entitled to statutory damages. View "State ex rel. McDougald v. Greene" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Relator's requested writ of mandamus seeking to compel Respondent to produce a document pursuant to a public records request and to pay statutory damages and court costs, holding that Respondent provided a complete response to Relator's public records request.In addition to Relator's mandamus petition and request for damages and court costs, Relator filed unopposed motions seeking leave to amend his complaint and leave to submit additional facts. The Supreme Court denied the writ, both motions, and the requests for statutory damages and court costs, holding (1) Relator did not show that Respondent failed to fulfill any of her obligations as a public-records custodian; (2) Defendant was not entitled to an award of court costs or statutory damages; and (3) both motions for leave are denied. View "State ex rel. McDougald v. Sehlmeyer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Jerone McDougald's motion for mediation and his request for a writ of mandamus seeking to compel Sonrisa Sehlmeyer, the administrative assistant to the warden at the Toledo Correctional Institution, to produce documents pursuant to a public-records request, holding that McDougald did not demonstrate that he had a clear legal right to the requested relief and that Sehlmeyer had a clear legal duty to provide that relief.Sehlmeyer responded to McDougald's public-records request with a notation indicating the number of pages of each requested record and the total amount required for the request. McDougald did not follow up with a cash slip or indication that he was still seeking to inspect the documents. Rather, McDougald filed the present complaint seeking a writ of mandamus and requesting an award of statutory damages and court costs. McDougald also filed a motion asking to submit this case to mediation. The Supreme Court denied all requests, holding that where the institution offered to make the records available, McDougald was not entitled to his requested relief. View "State ex rel. McDougald v. Sehlmeyer" on Justia Law