Ohioans whose requests for public records are stonewalled by a government body will soon have a new, inexpensive and relatively quick way to appeal the denial of records. On Sept. 28, the Ohio Court of Claims will begin accepting complaints on the refusal to release records by the government at all levels, from townships to the state. All that is required is a complaint form, a $25 filing fee and accompanying copies of the records requests and government denials. The Court of Claims will then assign a mediator to hear the complaint. If no agreement is reached, a special master will rule within seven days whether the government was legally correct in denying a records request or broke the law and must hand over the records.
This is a huge victory for Ohio citizens wrongfully denied public records, as previously these citizens would have often had to hire an attorney to engage in an expensive and lengthy legal battle.
As reported in the Columbus Dispatch, Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association and president of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government, stated, “If the process works as intended, Ohio may have a national model to quickly and affordably resolve many cases that would otherwise clog court calendars or never get litigated at all.”
Attorney Pamela A. Borgess, the founder of Borgess Law, LLC, is an experienced trial attorney who focuses on civil litigation, including defective medical drugs/devices, defective consumer products, business/contract disputes, wrongful death and injury, car and truck accidents, and nursing home abuse cases. To speak with Attorney Borgess, call Borgess Law at (567) 455-5955 or toll-free at (844) LAW-9144. You can also contact Borgess Law by submitting an online inquiry. Borgess Law never charges for initial consultations.