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Ohio sunshine lawsuits

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Deliberative Process Exemption

Here is a list of major FOIA court decisions and their effect on the Ohio Open Records Law.


" Year Precedent
Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. City of Akron 1965 Established no common law right to public access of meetings.
State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Krings 2001 This case established three criteria to determine if a contractor is subject to government records requests:
  1. if the records were prepared by the private entity while fulfilling a function of a public body
  2. if the public body monitors the private entity while it is performing that function
  3. the public body has access to the records in order to monitor the private entity.
State ex rel. Fostoria Daily Review Co. v. Fostoria Hospital Association 1988 This case established a number of important precedents:
  1. That hospitals which receive public funds and serve a clear public purpose as a hospital providing services to the community with the permission and mandate of a municipal governing body are considered public bodies themselves.
  2. Public funding can come in the form of land leased at no cost.
State ex rel. Freedom Communications Inc. v. Elida Community Fire Company 1998 This case established a number of important precedents:
  1. This case affirmed the notion that any "entity organized for rendering service to residents of the community and supported by public taxation is a public institution."[1]
  2. This case established that records of disciplinary action and termination were not exempt under personal privacy exemptions or police and criminal investigation records.
State ex rel. Plain Dealer v. Cleveland 1996 This case, based on the separation of powers, rendered constitutional officers exempt from public records requests, but not the entire executive nor the executive offices of political subdivisions.
State ex rel. Steffen v. Kraft 1993
State ex rel. Toledo Blade v. University of Toledo Foundation 1992 The finding in the case was that records of donors to a private corporation that functioned as the fund raising arm of a state university should be public. It affirmed the decision in State ex rel. Fostoria Daily Review Co. v. Fostoria Hospital Association that established that private entities that receive public funds and perform a governmental function are in fact public bodies subject to the Ohio Open Records Law. It also established that the entire history of an organization needs to be considered, in order to determine if it is publicly funded.
State ex rel. WBNS TV Inc. v. Dues 2004
State ex rel. Warren Newspapers Inc. v. Hutson 1994
State of Ohio v. Allen 2005
TBC Westlake Inc. v. Hamilton County Board of Revision 1998 That quasi-judicial bodies, like judicial bodies are exempt with regards to deliberative process.
The Cincinnati Enquirer v. Walter Handy and Malcolm Adcock 2005
Wells v. Lewis 1901 This case established the importance and justification for open records in Ohio prior to the 1963 legislation.

References