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Attorney General's Opinions


Attorney General Matt Denn


          

  Archived Posts From: 2016

16-IB08 3/18/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. John Papajohn re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Rehoboth Beach

Written on: March 18th, 2016 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Petitioner alleges that the City of Rehoboth Beach refused to explain the sources and methods utilized in arriving at its assessment figures, but was provided the requested records and does not allege otherwise. Held: The City is not required by FOIA to create records that do not exist. The methods by which properties were valued are outside the scope of FOIA.


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16-IB07 3/18/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Norma Derrickson re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Rehoboth Beach

Written on: March 18th, 2016 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Petitioner requested from the City of Rehoboth Beach “comparable sales for which fair market value was established” for certain properties for purposes of assessment. Held: The City violated FOIA when it failed to treat Petitioner’s request as a FOIA request and failed to respond within the timeframe required by FOIA. No remediation is required as Petitioner was later provided the opportunity to inspect responsive documents. The methods by which properties were valued are outside the scope of FOIA.


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16-IB06 3/14/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to The Hon. Chip Flowers re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Office of the Governor

Written on: March 14th, 2016 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Petitioner appealed the withholding of certain requested emails that were determined by the Office of the Governor to be exempt from FOIA under Exemption 6 (privileged materials) and Exemption 16 (sent to or by a legislator or legislative staff). Held: Documents which are covered by common law privilege such as attorney-client privilege, executive privilege, and draft document privilege are exempt from FOIA. Documents may not be withheld pursuant to Exemption 16 solely on the basis that the sender or recipient is a member of the General Assembly or its staff and must therefore be examined to determine if the content or context indicates that they constitute communications with a constituent of the legislator or reflect the substance of such communications.


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16-IB05 3/11/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Rep. Kim Williams re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware State Board of Education

Written on: March 11th, 2016 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Petitioner alleged that at the State Board of Education meeting held on January 21, 2016, the following constituted violations of FOIA: side conversations between a staff member and counsel and between the Board president and counsel, denial of a request by a member of the public to make public comment, and permitting a Board staff member to speak during Board discussion. Held: No FOIA violation was found regarding the side conversations because neither involved a quorum of board members. FOIA does not require public meetings to include public comment. FOIA does not prohibit Board staff from speaking during meetings.


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16-IB04 3/10/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Kaitlyn Collyer re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Finance

Written on: March 10th, 2016 in 10001 Declaration of Policy10002(l) (6) Exemptions - Records Exempted Per Statute or Common Law

The Department of Finance denied Petitioner’s request for the applications of several companies for exemption from corporate income tax. Held: There was no FOIA violation. Such applications are considered a “report or return” required by 30 Del. C. § 368, which prohibits the disclosure of the information contained in such reports or returns. FOIA exempts from disclosure those records that are deemed confidential by other statute(s).


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16-IB03 3/4/2016 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Ryan Tack-Hooper of ACLU of Delaware re: FOIA Complaint Concerning Delaware State Police

Written on: March 4th, 2016 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Petitioners appealed the redactions of a document that was produced pursuant to Attorney General Opinion 15-IB14 as improper under FOIA. Held: The State Police are directed to review the redactions to determine whether an error was made. The State Police should thereafter promptly provide to Petitioner either (i) a new copy of the documents without the redactions, if it is determined that they were erroneous, or (ii) the basis for the redactions, if it is determined that the redactions were intentional.


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