Brief Bank & links

Minium v. Hines: Minium is appealing a Hanover Circuit Court judge's ruling that the Hanover Sheriff's Office could heavily redact names off of its salary roster because the redacted officers could be used some time in the future for undercover operations. LAST UPDATE: 5/3/24

Citizens for Fauquier County v. Town of Warrenton: CFC is challenging the Town of Warrenton's use of the working papers and correspondence exemption. The town says that both the mayor and the town manager can use the exemption at the same time, rather than one or the other. There are also issues surrounding the burden of proof to show whether an exemption applies to specific records, not just a whole category of records. LAST UPDATE: 5/9/24

Sawyer v. Commonwealth: American Oversight is challenging the governor's use of the workings papers and correspondence exemption. There are also issues surrounding the adequacy of the search and what is needed to prompt an in camera review of the disputed documents. LAST UPDATE: 8/4/23

Transparent GMU v. George Mason University: Students tried to get donor records from GMU's foundation, but the Virginia Supreme Court said the foundation wasn't subject to FOIA.

Hjelm v. Prince William County School Board - Prince William County citizen Mark Hjelm is seeking records related to the school district's use of an electronic visitor identification system.

McBurney v. Mims - U.S. federal district court challenging Virginia FOIA's provision limiting FOIA's use to Virginia citizens only (i.e., local and state governments in Virginia do not have to fulfill out-of-state FOIA requests).

Beck v. Shelton - Va. Supreme Court case addressing the use of e-mail by more than two members of a public body. Also dealt with application of FOIA to members-elect of a public body, and whether a meeting of a public body occurred at a community forum.

Cartwright v. Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner of Virginia - Case currently pending before the Va. Supreme Court. Addresses the standard a trial court must apply when determining if mandamus relief under FOIA is appropriate. Also addresses whether a citizen can be denied a FOIA request because he is also in litigation and might be able to get the same requested record through discovery. VDOT initiated eminent domain proceedings against Raymond Cartwright. Cartwright asked for documents related to the case through FOIA. Circuit Court ruled that Cartwright couldn't get them because he was currently in litigation with VDOT and could seek the same documents through discovery.

  • Order from Chesapeake Circuit Court in VDOT's favor. (PDF)
  • Brief of Raymond Cartwright, a citizen suing VDOT, petitioning the Supreme Court of Virginia to review his case. (PDF)
  • Brief of VDOT, opposing Cartwright's petition for review. (PDF)
  • Supreme Court decision reversing the circuit court, holding that a plaintiff does not have to prove that he does not have an adequate remedy at law before being entitled to a writ of mandamus under FOIA.

Connell v. Kersey - Va. Supreme Court ruled that constitutional officers were not covered by FOIA. Subsequent legislation specifically included such officers.

  • Opening brief of citizen/criminal defendant who asked for records from the Commonwealth Attorney's offrice and was denied.
  • Amicus brief in support of citizen, filed by VCOG and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
  • Decision by Fairfax County Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush in favor of Commonwealth Attorney's office.
  • Supreme Court decision affirming the circuit court.

Wilson v. City of Salem - Litigation out of the Salem Circuit Court in 2000 over the legality of a vote taken on a measure that was not included on the agenda.

  • City's brief in response to plaintiff's memorandum, which was in response to the city's demurrer.