Fees

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-09

Without a prior agreement, when a requester asks for records to be sent via e-mail, the government cannot bill the requester for the cost and mileage involved with delivering the records via certified mail.

Davis v. City of Chesapeake (Chesapeake Circuit Court)

The Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act is not an exemption to FOIA's disclosure requirements. City may not charge for summary/abstract of record without first reaching an agreeement with the requester.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-09-07

FOIA allows a public body to charge for existing records. FOIA does not address what a public body may charge for additional access features beyond inspection and copying of existing records.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-02-07

A public body may charge for the actual cost of staff time spent redacting records in response to a request. It may not charge any additional fee for a separate legal review of the same records.

Rivera v. Long (Norfolk Circuit Court) (on costs and attorneys' fees)

Judge rules on cost prevailing plaintiff should pay for copies of general registrar's records, as well as on attorneys' fees for the plaintiff's attorney.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-06-05

If a public body elects to abstract or summarize records, it can only charge for such a newly created record after a prior agreement with the requester.

Albright v. Woodfin

NOTE: Scroll to end for another ruling in a district court proceeding, June 10, 2005, between Albright and the Attorney General over advance-estimating of costs for filling a FOIA request.


Lee H. Albright v. William Woodfin et al., CL05-0006, Nelson County Circuit Court

May 26, 2005

Judge J. Michael Gamble

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-23-04

Citizen applications for a vacant board of supervisors seat are exempt from disclosure as personnel records. A public body may charge $6 for a two-page document if that reflects the actual cost to the public body to produce it.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-16-04

It appears that the intent of the law would indicate that if records do not exist, this should be stated in writing to the requester. once a deposit is requested from the public body, a requester does not have the right to demand that certain records that are believed to be easily accessible be provided immediately, before the deposit is paid, while still indicating that he wants a response to the entire request. Burden on requester to clearly indicate he is attempting to narrow a previous request, in lieu of that request. The practical perspective of dealing with the application of FOIA on a daily basis has taught [this office] that clear and concise communication between a requester and a government official -- relying on the requirements set forth in the law and not on editorial comment -- is often the best way to successfully resolve any concerns about a FOIA request.

FOI Advisory Council Opinion AO-04-04

The Department cannot require you to pay charge that included charges for copies that you clearly did not request, and includes a charge for the benefits of the person that responded to your request, which is not an allowable charge. While FOIA does require the Department to provide you with records of the salary of Department employees, it does not require that benefits information also be made available. The Department could, at its discretion, withhold such information as a personnel record pursuant to subdivision A 4 of § 2.2-3705. In providing you the salary information, FOIA does not require the Department to create lists or spreadsheets including this information; providing you with individual records showing each employee's salary would satisfy the requirements of FOIA. While providing you with a spreadsheet of the salary information may be the most user-friendly format, the Department may not charge you for the creation of such a record without first reaching an agreement with you concerning the costs associated with its creation. The Department may still create the spreadsheets, absent an agreement, if it feels more comfortable providing the information in that format, but it cannot recoup these costs if you did not agree to it. Finally, the Department may not deny you the right to inspect the records on the grounds that you have not paid $207.50 because it did not estimate the charges in advance and request a deposit. Therefore, the records must be made available to you for inspection in accordance with your original request.

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