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Administrative: Public Records-Sunshine Law

Staff Report//September 21, 2023//

Administrative: Public Records-Sunshine Law

Staff Report//September 21, 2023//

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Plaintiff appealed the denial of his motion to enforce judgment against defendant for violations of the Sunshine Law. Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in ruling that defendant’s search was sufficient under the Sunshine Law, since the proper question was whether the search was sufficient under the original judgment, and in applying principles of collateral estoppel and law of the case. Plaintiff further challenged the trial court’s determination that defendant’s offer to search for records at plaintiff’s expense complied with the Sunshine Law.

Where defendant waived its statutory right to charge plaintiff for producing records responsive to his Sunshine Law request, the trial court impermissibly modified the original judgment to add payment of costs as a condition to defendant’s obligation to search for records as required by the judgment.

Ahuja, J., dissenting: “Given the circuit court’s contempt judgment, and Malin’s unsuccessful appeal of that judgment, I am unable to understand how the majority can allow Malin to re-assert the same argument he made in the Malin II appeal: that the original judgment and our decision in Malin I foreclose the recovery of search and production costs. There is no justification for giving Malin another turn at the plate, when he struck out – both in the circuit court and here – once before. As the circuit court properly held, Malin’s request for a ‘do-over’ violates the law of the case doctrine, and should be summarily rejected.”

Judgment is reversed and remanded.

Malin v. Cole County Prosecuting Attorney (MLW No. 80527/Case No. WD85703– 38 pages) (Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, Thomson, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Cole County, Green, J. (David Roland, Mexico, Anthony E. Rothert, St. Louis, and Jessica M. Steffan, St. Louis, for appellant) (Michael G. Berry, Jefferson City, for respondent)


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