“Sunlight is the most powerful of all disinfectants.” Justice Brandeis. Plaintiffs sought access to emails between a quasi-governmental agency (District), its management company, and its consultants on a water project. Plaintiffs sued for violations of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), because the District claimed it did not possess emails sent only between its consultants, and sought $16k for production of the records it did have. CORA defines public record as one “made, maintained, or kept by the state.” The court held that, while emails to or from the District or its management company are public record, those only between its consultants were not made, maintained, or kept by the District. Further, the court found the fee structure of $25/hour for collection of records and segregation and logging of privileged materials reasonable under CORA.
Tag Archives: Open Records Act
Mountain-Plains Investment Corporation; John Robert Fetters, Jr.; Joann Dransfeldt Fetters; A. Sue Fetters; and John R. Fetters III, v. Parker Jordan Metropolitan District, 2013COA123 (August 15, 2013)
It is hard to peek behind the judicial curtains to watch the wizards work. In this case, the wizard is the Attorney Regulation Counsel, and the work is investigations of attorney misconduct. Relying on the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), the trial court permitted access to most of the regulation counsel’s records related to an investigation of a number of attorneys. The court of appeals reversed. Although mentioning the conflict between the interest of disclosure and the interest of maintaining confidential information, in the end it was a matter of statutory construction. The court found that regulation counsel is part of the judicial branch, and CORA does not apply to the judicial branch. Therefore, regulation counsel’s records are not subject to disclosure under CORA. The Court’s own rules on access to judicial records might have applied, but they were not raised as an issue.