New York sunshine lawsuits

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

" Year Precedent
Buffalo News v. Buffalo Enterprise Development Corporation 1994 This case rejected the use of the narrower federal standards for determining if a private corporation is a public body and affirmed the FOIL's broader criteria which only factors in the function of the private agency.
Buffalo News v. Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority 1990
COMPS v. Town of Islip 2006
Capital Newspapers v. Burns 1986
Capital Newspapers v. Whalen 1987 1.) Eliminated any considerations of purpose with regards to accepting or denying public records requests.
2.) Personal documents intermingled with public records become public records.
Daily Gazette v. Schenectady 1999
Fink v. Lefkowitz 1979
Kryston v. Board of Education, East Ramapo School District 1980 This case granted access to standardized test scores assuming the personal information about the students was deleted.
Lucas v. Pastor 1986
Muniz v. Roth 1994
New York News v. Grinker 1989
New York News v. Staten Island 1995
Newsday v. State Department of Transportation 2004
Perez v. City Univ. of New York 2005 This case established a number of important precedents:
  1. Advisory boards who are the sole policy decision makers can be considered public bodies subject to FOIL and the New York Open Meetings Law.
  2. Secret voting, though permitted by the open meetings law, is not permitted under FOIL due to records requirements for detailed accounts of voting.
Russo v. Nassau Community College 1993 This case established a number of precedents:
  1. New York law does not allow separate functions of a public body to be dissected and considered as distinct when determining if the body in question was in fact subject to FOIL.
  2. This case established that classroom materials of state colleges and universities are not exempt under the FOIL.
  3. This case rejected the idea that classroom materials were deliberative in nature and thus exempt under FOIL.
Scott, Sardano &. Pomeranz v Records Access Officer 1985
Washington Post v. Insurance Department 1984
Westchester Rockland Newspapers v. Kimball 1980 This case established a number of important precedents:
  1. Volunteer organizations are subject to the same standards for determining if a private organization is subject to FOIL as organized extensions of the government.
  2. You cannot separate the functions of private bodies between governmental and non-governmental functions and release only the records relating to governmental functions. Instead the entity must be considered in its entirety.
  3. Temporary transfers of records do not alter an agencies possession of records and do not remove their responsibility for complying with records requests for those records.
Whitehead v. Morgenthau 1990 Eliminated any fee waivers.
Zaleski v. Hicksville Union Free School District 1978 That agencies cannot charge fees for labor when reproducing audio/visual records.