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PR 20-61 East Bay Media Group v. Barrington School Department No violation

The Complainant alleged that the Department violated the APRA when it failed to produce records regarding legal fees it incurred related to a specific matter and when, pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 38-2-2(4)(A)(I)(a) and 38-2-2(4)(B), it withheld a document related to a request for "the contract, agreement or binder" describing the relationship between the Department and its legal counsel. We found the evidence supported the Department's assertion that it did not maintain records specifying the legal fees incurred in connection with a particular matter. We also noted that the Department provided legal billing records to Complainant in connection with a subsequent APRA request that was not the subject of this Complaint and that sought all legal bills for a certain timeframe, not just those related to a particular matter. Additionally, based on this Office's in camera review of the single withheld document, we determined that the record related to the "client/attorney relationship" and was permissibly exempt under R.I. Gen. Laws 38-2-2(4)(A)(I)(a). We found no violations.

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