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PR 18-10 Peckham v. City of Pawtucket No Violation

The Complainant alleged that the City violated the APRA when it failed to provide a document responsive to his request. Although we had concerns whether the Complainant's request fell within the ambit of the APRA, we noted that because the Complainant already had the requested document, we only needed to determine whether his allegations represented a knowing and willful, or reckless, violation of the APRA that would subject the City to civil penalties. See R.I. Gen. Laws 38-2-8. Having framed this narrow issue, and after reviewing all the evidence presented, we found no evidence of a willful and knowing, or reckless, violation. We noted that misconstruing an APRA request "is a mistaken act, not a willful, knowing, or reckless one." Simoneau v. City of Warwick, PR 18-05. We also noted that the City's determination that it did not maintain the requested document even though it subsequently provided the requested document may very well have been correct. Finally, we found that the City's initial intended response that it did not have any responsive documents was preceded by an adequate search. Accordingly, we found no violations.

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