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Attorney General Kathy Jennings


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10001-declarations

19-IB09 2/22/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Sam Cooper re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Rehoboth Beach

Written on: March 11th, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The primary issues were whether the Rehoboth Beach City Council properly discussed an attorney-client memorandum prepared by their attorney in executive session; whether the Council properly discussed the sale of wastewater treatment plant in executive session; and whether the City’s Personnel Committee violated FOIA by failing to follow open meeting requirements for its January 3, 2019 meeting.

DECIDED: Discussion of an attorney-client privileged memorandum is not a proper purpose for executive session under FOIA. Because this portion of the executive session discussions did not otherwise meet the requirements of 29 Del. C. 10004(b)(4), the executive session violated FOIA. The discussion of the sale of the treatment plant property was appropriate for executive session under 29 Del. C. 10004(b)(2).

FURTHER DECIDED: The City’s Personnel Committee is a public body subject to FOIA and therefore violated FOIA by failing to comply with the open meeting requirements for its January 3, 2019 meeting. As remediation, this Office recommends that any existing meeting minutes are made available in compliance with FOIA.  If the meeting was recorded or otherwise preserved, this Office recommends that the City recreate meeting minutes from those records.  If neither minutes nor records preserving the substance of the meeting exist, this Office need not recommend any further remediation, as the City has stated in its Response that it intends to operate the Personnel Committee in accordance with FOIA’s open meeting requirements in the future.


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19-IB08 2/18/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Richard Abbott re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Written on: February 22nd, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

This Office was asked to determine whether DNREC properly applied the pending or potential litigation exemption in response to a request for records.

DECIDED: The records request should not have been denied in its entirety. Insofar as DNREC may have withheld any records which do not pertain to the pending case that were not otherwise exempt, DNREC would be in violation of FOIA.


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19-IB07 2/15/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Doug Spelman and Mr. John Hurlock re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Lewes

Written on: February 22nd, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The Petitioner alleged that the public had insufficient notice about a zoning classification under consideration. This Office was asked to determine: 1) whether the agenda for the January 7, 2019 executive session adequately provided notice to the public; 2) whether the executive session was held for a proper purpose under FOIA; and 3) whether the agenda for the open session items adequately provided notice to the public of the matters for discussion.

DECIDED: The City has not violated FOIA by citing to its reason for the executive session in the January 7, 2019 meeting agenda. However, it was determined that the City violated FOIA by providing an insufficient agenda of the open session items and by failing to meet its burden to show that the executive session was for a proper purpose under 29 Del. C. § 10004(b)(4).


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19-IB06 2/13/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Craig O’Donnell re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the New Castle County Police Department

Written on: February 22nd, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

This Office was asked to determine whether the New Castle County Police Department provided a timely response to the Petitioner’s FOIA request and whether the Police Department had provided sufficient assistance to the Petitioner in fulfilling their request.

DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. NCCPD provided a response within the timeframes permitted by FOIA. There was no evidence that the Petitioner had requested further assistance or that the Police Department needed to clarify the request to locate the documents.


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19-IB05 2/12/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Christopher Coggins re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Written on: February 22nd, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Petitioner alleged that 1) DNREC improperly withheld records, as he did not state a request for records; and 2) DNREC improperly withheld records which were confidential legal advice.

DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. FOIA does not require a public body to answer questions or compile information, and the requests for attorney client privileged and work product materials was appropriately denied.


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19-IB04 2/11/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Jan Konesey and Mr. Sam Cooper re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Rehoboth Beach

Written on: February 15th, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The Petitioners alleged that a wastewater working group established by the City of Rehoboth was meeting privately and without public notice.

DECIDED: The working group is a public body subject to the open meetings provisions of FOIA and therefore violated FOIA. This Office recommended the group meet publicly in accordance with FOIA’s open meeting requirements going forward and make existing minutes (if any) of past meetings available to the public. If meetings minutes do not exist but the meeting was recorded, the City is recommended to recreate those minutes and make them publicly available.


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19-IB03 2/11/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Mustafa Musawwir re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Division of Corporations

Written on: February 15th, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The Petitioner alleged the Division of Corporation’s fees for certain business records violated FOIA by exceeding the fee scale outlined in FOIA.

DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. A separate statute establishes the fees for the requested records and specifically exempts them from FOIA’s fee provisions.


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19-IB02 2/11/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Christina Jedra re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the City of Wilmington

Written on: February 15th, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The Petitioner alleged that the City of Wilmington’s decision to use an outside vendor to perform the search and production of emails was unreasonable and that the fee estimate was unreasonably high.

DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. The City presented affidavits supporting that the use of a vendor was reasonably required. Also, it was determined that the City adequately demonstrated that the outside vendor’s fee estimate did not violate FOIA.


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19-IB01 1/23/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Christopher Coggins re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Written on: January 29th, 2019 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

The petitioner requested records regarding a site which was the subject of an environmental enforcement action. DNREC denied the request pursuant to pending or potential litigation exemption, and the petitioner alleged that DNREC improperly withheld records under this exemption.

DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found, as the requested records related to the subject matter of pending litigation between the petitioner’s clients and DNREC.


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18-IB54 12/5/2018 FOIA Opinion Letter to Johann Gaebler re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System

Written on: December 7th, 2018 in 10001 Declaration of Policy

Petitioner alleged that DELJIS improperly withheld information from a database. DECIDED: As Petitioner is not a citizen of Delaware, DELJIS properly asserted in the denial that it was not required to fulfill the request.


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