Fuller v. City of Homer was a case before the Alaskan Supreme Court in 2003 concerning deliberative process agreement.
This case established that the deliberative process exemption could apply to municipalities, given that the municipalities in question met all the criteria for the exemption.
- In December 1999, the city of Homer decided to annex a number of areas and set the city manager to work, researching and preparing the appropriate documents for the project.
- The city manager prepared a file which included all appropriate research and his plan for the annexation which the city approved on March 13, 2000. The city manager filed the petition for annexation with the Alaska Local Boundary Commission.
- A citizen of Homer, Abigail Fuller, submitted an open records request for the documents within the file collected by the town manager. The town manager and the city both, after releasing a select few documents, rejected the remainder of the request based on the deliberative process exemption.
- Abigail appealed to superior court, which upheld the decision of the city council.
- She appealed the decision to a higher court.
Ruling of the court
The trial court upheld the decision of the city council and ordered the documents exempt because they constituted an aspect of the deliberative process.
The Supreme Court overruled the trial court and ordered the documents released.
The court determined that the documents in question were in fact deliberative material that fell within the exception established by Doe v. Superior Court, Gwich'in Steering Committee v. Office of the Governor, and Capital Information Group v. Office of the Governor. They further declared that the deliberative process exemption did in fact apply to municipalities, counter to Fuller's argument that it did not. The court, however, determined that the balancing test established by City of Kenai v. Kenai Peninsula Newspapers weighed in favor of the release of the documents. The court determined that, as the decision had been made and the report only contained factual information, the cities benefit in keeping the information disclosed was significantly less than the public's interest in the release of the documents. Based on this test, the court ruled in favor of the city and ordered the documents released.