Commercial Appeal sues Memphis over open records - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Commercial Appeal sues Memphis over open records

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The Commercial Appeal in Memphis is suing the city to force the release of public records sought by the newspaper over the last year.

The lawsuit accuses the city of violating the state's Open Records Act by requiring all public records requests, besides traffic reports, to be submitted and reviewed by the city attorney's office before being released.

The suit claims that process is "unnecessarily complicated and involves excessive delays in fulfilling public records requests."

"There have been no public records in the city's possession available for access and inspection during normal business hours as is required by the Act," according to the suit filed by the newspaper's attorneys, Lucian Pera and Brian Faughnan.

The suit filed in Shelby County Chancery seeks a special master to oversee compliance with the law, make quarterly reports and for the city to provide copies of any written denials of records.

The newspaper has been seeking several different types of public records for a variety of stories: e-mails of City Council members, recordings and transcripts of some 911 calls, records of how many firefighters are paramedics, internal police files and copies of all public records requests received by the city and how they were handled.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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