Kessler v. Charlottesville (Cir. Ct.)

The Public Records Act "clearly has an administrative purpose -- and seems, in fact, totally administrative and procedural -- for the benefit of the good operation of the state government and its agencies and (unlike FOIA) not for the benefit of individual citizens themselves." The court confirms that text messages are public records, however: "If the documents (texts) were still in the possession of the CIty, even in deleted form, I believe that the City would still have the obligation and duty to retrieve (recover) them. To me it is no different than if paper records were torn up and thown in a trashcan but had not been taken out to the garbage yet."

Daily Press v. OES

Clerks of court are the individual custodians of the court case data supplied to the Office of Executive Secretary's online database.

Harki v. DCJS

Harki v. Department of Criminal Justice Services: DCJS must turn over database of training records for law enforcement officers. Judge Joseph A. Migliozzi Jr. agrees that they are personnel records, but notes that the department said it would turn the records over (i.e., exercise their discretion to release records that could be withheld) and then reneged. The opinion also rejects the DCJS argument that it didn't own the database and that it really belonged to the individual law enforcement agencies that supplied the data.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-03-15

The Office of Executive Secretary by statute operates and maintains a case management system, the operation and maintenance of the system is the transaction of OES' public business, and therefore OES' case management records are public records subject to FOIA. By operation of law, the respective clerks also remain custodians of those records, and they bear responsibility for maintaining the integrity of those records.  To the extent that OES owns or possesses such data, it is also a custodian of such records and likewise responsible to respond to a request for it under FOIA.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-14

FOIA does not define the term "custodian," but for FOIA purposes, generally the custodian is the person in charge of public records. Each public body may designate who is to act as custodian of its public records. FOIA does not apply to records that are not public records in the transaction of public business.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-05-07

The student government of a public institution of higher education is a public body subject to FOIA. The branches of student government are analogous to the organization of government generally (i.e., legislative, executive, and judicial). (Several other related issues discussed.)

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-19-03

Records held by Barnes & Noble relating to the management of pulbic university bookstores are subject to FOIA if the store is acting as the university's agent, but not if the store is acting as an independent contractor. University may not frustrate public policy of access to records on the transaction of public business by outsourcing them to independent contractors.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-18-03

A university student organization supported wholly or principally by public funds is subject to FOIA as an independent body; the parent university is not the custodian of the organization's records. It is recommended that a FOIA request made of a public body that is not the custodian of the records sought should be forwarded on to the proper custodian.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-41-01

Though a lcoal chamber of commerce is not a public body, records it keeps on tourism at the request and as an agent of a city council are subject to disclosure under FOIA. The chamber, not the city council is the custodian of the records where the city is not statutorily required to maintain tourism records.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-37-01

An agency remains the legal custodian of records it is mandated by law to maintain, even if it does not retain physical custody of the records.
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