Nebraska Supreme Court rebuffs news organization in dispute over public records costs


The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the state's Department of Environment and Energy could charge a news organization for the time its employees spent reviewing emails that are the subject of a public records request.

The state's top court overturned a trial judge who had concluded last year that — unlike searching, identifying, copying and redacting documents — the law didn't include reviewing documents among the activities for which a state agency could require compensation in response to public record requests.

"To the extent review is needed to ensure that the public record is responsive to the request or that portions of the record are not exempt from disclosure, the review is part of the actual added cost used as the basis for the calculation of a fee for records,” Justice William Cassel said in the unanimous decision.

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