Publications

Section Newsletter Articles on Freedom of Information Act

Two new appellate cases further interpreting Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act By John Redlingshafer Local Government Law, April 2014 Both cases can have an impact on your local government practice: The first discusses what constitutes a “prevailing party” under FOIA, while the second revisits the issue as to whether a public body has to create a record in order to respond to a request.
Modified policy on Freedom of Information Act disclosure of amounts paid to individual physicians under the Medicare Program Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Care Law, March 2014 In January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that effective March 18, 2014, it will follow “a new policy regarding requests made under the Freedom of Information Act for information on amounts paid to individual physicians under the Medicare program. . . .” Under this new policy, physicians may find that their Medicare payments in a given year become public information. A summary of this new policy is included in this issue.
Investigation exemption under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act By Walter J. Zukowski and Morgan Johnson Education Law, February 2014 The Illinois Attorney General's Office of the Public Access Counselor recently issued an important opinion for schools and other governmental bodies regarding interpretation of a provision of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
More case law on FOIA’s unduly burdensome exemption: Shehadeh v. Madigan By John R. Redlingshafer Local Government Law, February 2014 Shehadeh v. Madigan is a sound reminder to those attorneys who represent or otherwise assist public bodies in responding to FOIA requests.
State Journal-Register v. University of Illinois Springfield: Journalism or sensationalism – The Appellate Court weighs in By Yolaine Dauphin Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law, January 2014 In this case, the Journal had published articles on a sex scandal involving coaches at UIS, and sought additional information to continue its coverage of the story.
PAC Opinion report By Ruth A. Schlossberg Local Government Law, December 2013 Recent opinions from the Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor.
State Journal-Register v. University of Illinois Springfield: Journalism or sensationalism – The Appellate Court weighs in By Yolaine Dauphin Administrative Law, December 2013 In this case, the Journal had published articles on a sex scandal involving coaches at UIS, and sought additional information to continue its coverage of the story.
Freedom of information By John H. Brechin Local Government Law, November 2013 The United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that the Virginia Freedom of Information statute, which is only available to citizens of their state, did not violate the privileges and immunities clause of the Constitution.
McBurney v. Young: Freedom of Information, the Privileges and Immunities Clause and the Dormant Commerce Clause By Yolaine Dauphin Administrative Law, October 2013 On April 29, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in McBurney v. Young upholding the validity of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, which made public records “open to inspection and copying by any citizens of the Commonwealth,” without granting a similar right to non-citizens.
Don’t text and legislate, or suffer the FOIA consequences By Timothy J. Clifton Local Government Law, September 2013 On July 16, 2013, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court published their opinion in City of Champaign v. Madigan, addressing the Freedom of Information Act’s applicability to text messages sent or received by public officials.
Texts and e-mails sent or received during public meetings by board members using personal electronic devices are subject to FOIA By John M. O’Driscoll Local Government Law, September 2013 The first of two reviews of the recent City of Champaign v. Madigan case.
Just what the doctor ordered: The red light doctor gets his red light camera FOIA request By Matthew S. Dionne Local Government Law, August 2013 This article explores the Fagel v. Department of Transportation decision, its implications, and what public bodies might consider going forward with regard to electronic records and FOIA requests.
Case update list Local Government Law, July 2013 Recent cases of interest to local government law attorneys.
Case summary: Rock River Times v. Rockford Public School District 205, 2012 IL App(2d) 110879 By Everett E. Nicholas Jr. and Catherine Locallo Education Law, March 2013 The Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District recently decided a case regarding attorney fees and civil penalty provisions under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Can public bodies claim records are “Outside the scope” of a FOIA request? By John Redlingshafer Local Government Law, June 2012 A discussion of the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor's binding opinion 12-009, which makes clear that “a public body is not authorized to redact information from responsive records which it considers to be ‘outside the scope’ of the FOIA request.”
Attorney General’s 2012 online Freedom of Information training now available Government Lawyers, March 2012 A link to the 2012 FOIA training on the Attorney General's Web site.
Sudden burst of FOIA binding opinions from the Public Access Counselor By John M. O’Driscoll Local Government Law, March 2012 It appears that the Public Access Counselor has focused on increasing the number of binding opinions, presumably to offer some guidance to governmental entities and the public. However, it also appears that there is a long way to go before some of the holes in the legislation are filled.
Using the Freedom of Information Act before and during litigation, where it concerns a named party By Martin A. Dolan and Robert Ennis Tort Law, March 2012 A judicious litigant familiar with FOIA procedures and policies can use the FOIA to great effect to supplement their discovery efforts before and during litigation and consequently strengthen their overall case.
Governor signs Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act changes Administrative Law, January 2012 A summary of the new Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act amendments.
Is information on privately-owned electronic devices subject to FOIA?—What Public Access Binding Opinion No. 11-006 means to you and your government clients By John Redlingshafer Government Lawyers, January 2012 Opinion 11-006 of the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau firmly establishes that electronic communications, whether shared on publicly or privately-owned devices, can be considered “public records” and therefore, may be subject to FOIA.
Is information on privately-owned electronic devices subject to FOIA?—What Public Access Binding Opinion No. 11-006 means to you and your government clients By John Redlingshafer Local Government Law, December 2011 Opinion 11-006 of the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau firmly establishes that electronic communications, whether shared on publicly or privately-owned devices, can be considered “public records” and therefore, may be subject to FOIA.
Governor signs Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act changes Government Lawyers, October 2011 A summary of the new Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act amendments.
An Egyptian’s right to know: The need for freedom of information laws in Egypt By Engy Abdelkader International and Immigration Law, September 2011 Enabling Egyptians to obtain accurate data about their government facilitates their active and informed participation in the political process and equips them to set the public agenda.
Freedom of Information Act—Recent & proposed changes By Stephan Roth and Jeannie Romas-Dunn Government Lawyers, June 2011 A look at some of the more significant changes made to FOIA in the last legislative cycle.
Lessons learned from FCC v. AT&T: A look at the recent U.S. Supreme Court case By Lisle A. Stalter Local Government Law, June 2011 Although there are some fundamental difference in the federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) and the Illinois equivalent, lessons can be learned from the analysis of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T.
New Illinois FOIA and government’s obligation to speak By Steven Helle Human Rights, April 2011 A discussion of Illinois' Freedom of Information Act and the government’s responsibility and obligation to speak.
“Bring out your dead!”—Do Freedom of Information Act privacy exemptions survive death? By Heidi Steiner, Iain D. Johnston, and Yana Karnaukhov Local Government Law, October 2010 There is some authority that suggests that the right to privacy is diminished with death. But there is no federal or state statutory authority, advisory manual, or case law that specifically prohibits such redaction of private information.
The Freedom of Information Act: A useful resource for attorneys By George L. Schoenbeck Young Lawyers Division, October 2010 Author George Schoenbeck shares his experiences as both a Freedom of Information Officer and as an attorney using the Freedom of Information Act to represent private parties.
Public disclosure of public employee disciplinary records under Gekas v. Williamson and the 2009 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act By Michael D. Bersani Local Government Law, October 2010 A discussion of the reasoning and holding in the recent Gekas v. Williamson decision, as well as whether any portion of Gekas will survive the 2009 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act.
The Freedom of Information Act: A useful resource for attorneys By George L. Schoenbeck General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm, September 2010 Author George Schoenbeck shares his experiences as both a Freedom of Information Officer and as an attorney using the Freedom of Information Act to represent private parties.