Michigan sunshine lawsuits

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Here is a list of major FOIA court decisions and their effect on the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)


" Year Precedent
Booth Newspapers Inc. v. Muskegon Probate Judge 1968
Booth Newspapers Inc. v. University of Michigan Board of Regents 1993 Travel expense records of members of a public body do not constitute "records of a personal nature," and are not subject to the privacy exemption. A public body may not withhold travel expense records because their disclosure might lead to information concerning the candidates interviewed by board members.
Bradley v Saranac Community Schools Board of Education
Breighner v. Michigan High School Athletic Assoc. 2004 This case established a number of important precedents:
  1. That the inclusion of the word "agency" within the definition of public body in the Michigan Freedom of Information Act was not meant to be construed so as to include all agents of the state but was meant to be construed narrowly so as to include only government offices and departments.
  2. That the Michigan Freedom of Information Act requires that funding be direct and not in exchange for goods or services in order for a private corporation or entity to be considered a public body thereby affirming the decision made in State Defender Union Employees v Legal Aid & Defender Association of Detroit.
Burton v. Tuite 1889
Detroit Free Press v. City of Allen Park 2005
Detroit Free Press v. City of Detroit 2005
Detroit Free Press v. Michigan Attorney General 2005
Detroit News v. Policemen and Firemen Retirement System 2002 This case established a number of important precedents:
  1. The release of documents may invalidate a future claim of exemption, but the court is required to perform an in camera inspection to determine if the information and documents are actually the same.
  2. Retirement Systems which are funded and controlled by state agencies are public bodies subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
Federated Publications, Inc. v. Board of Trustees of Michigan State University 1999 Informal meetings of regents of Michigan universities are exempt from Open Meetings Act laws.
Herald Co. v Ann Arbor Public Schools
Herald Co. v Bay City
Howell Education Association v. Howell Board of Education 2010
Jackson v. Eastern Michigan University 1996 This case affirmed the 50% test established by Kubick v. Child and Family Services of Michigan Inc for determining whether a private entity is primarily funded through public funds. This case also affirmed that if a private entity is created or empowered by a public body for a public function, then it is in fact subject to the Michigan Open Meetings Act.
Kubick v. Child and Family Services of Michigan Inc 1988 This case established a 50% threshold for a private entity to be considered publicly funded.
Mullin v. Detroit Police Dept. 1984 Disclosure of personal information on persons involved in traffic accidents is a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.
Nowack v. Auditor General 1928
Proctor v. White Lake Police Dept. 2001 This case established that the Michigan Freedom of Information Act statute that prevents state inmates from making FOIA requests is not in violation of the constitution.
State Defender Union Employees v Legal Aid & Defender Association of Detroit 1998 This case established that for a private non-profit to be state funded and thus be considered a public body subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, the funding must be in the form of grants or subsidies and not as payments in exchange for goods and services rendered.
State Employees Association v. Dept. of Management and Budget 1987
Swickard v. Wayne County Medical Examiner 1991 A party who prevails completely in an action asserting the right to inspect or receive a copy of a public record under the Freedom of Information Act is entitled to reasonable attorney fees, costs, and disbursements. No time limit is imposed upon a prevailing party for requesting attorney fees.

References