Can we say we told you so? Just did.
Circuit Judge Jay Moody today ruled in favor of plaintiff Helen Davis, represented by John Walker, in her Freedom of Information lawsuit against the Little Rock Public Education Foundation. It had already turned over information Davis had sought, but Walker was right to argue for a declaration on this issue, which allowed an attorney fee award.
You should NOT have to file a lawsuit to get access to public records. And, no, Foundation attorney Phil Kaplan, the law does NOT allow holders of public records to delay three days before providing them.. It allows a three-day wait only if the records sought are in "active use."
Judge Moody's letter to the parties:
After consideration of the evidence presented today and the arguments of counsel, I find that the Public Education Foundation is supported in part by public funds and therefore is subject to the FOIA. Plaintiff is awarded costs of $140 and attorney's fees of $500. Mr. Walker, please prepare the order.
Until a few months ago, the Little Rock School District helped pay the salary of the foundation's director and it uses the foundation for an academic evaluation program. The foundation solicits money to support the district and has served as a conduit (secretively in the first instance) of money sent to the district to institute merit pay experiments.