The high cost of FOIA

A woman has won a lawsuit that was filed against the Jacksonville Police Department. The lawsuit filed in September 2010, claims that the police department did not properly respond to her FOIA requests.

After being pulled over for speeding by the Jacksonville police on June 24, 2010, Partne Daugherty submitted a request for all audio and video recordings made by Jacksonville police officers Josh Wheeler and Paul Huddleston between July 24 and August 13 of 2010, she was told that her request was too broad and burdensome. In a separate request for the same materials, the requestor was told that she would have to pay $2,476 to cover reproduction costs. The Supreme Court ruled that this request could have been refused if the requester was not sufficiently specific. However, that claim was not made. Regarding the reproduction cost, the court said the “FOIA allows a custodian of public records to charge a fee to cover reproduction costs, but it does not allow the custodian to recover the hourly wages of employees, as the Jacksonville Police Department sought to do by charging Daugherty $2,476.”

This case is a good example of the high cost of not responding properly to FOIA.  To read the full article, click here.