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PR 18-36 Szerlag v. Town of East Greenwich Violation

The Complainant alleged that the Town violated the APRA by withholding certain documents, overcharging for produced documents, redacting signatures on produced documents, and demanding prepayment prior to search and retrieval. We found that the Town's responses to several categories of the APRA request were unsupported and accordingly instructed the Town to detail the search it undertook in responding to the requests and explain whether it had any responsive documents. With respect to the produced documents, we found that they were fairly encompassed by the broad request and thus the Town did not violate the APRA by providing them. With respect to the redacted signatures, we noted the privacy interest inherent in one's signature but also found a public interest in knowing who was signing documents on behalf of the Town. We accordingly instructed the Town to reveal the name(s), but not the signature(s), of the signatory. Finally, we found the Town's request for a deposit prior to search and retrieval without any connection to an estimate violated the APRA. However, because the Complainant took no issue with the amount charged, we took no further action.

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