20-IB03 1/14/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Laura Allen re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Division of Public Health
Petitioner alleged that the Division of Public Health of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (“DPH”) improperly withheld documents regarding certain animal control complaints and evidence.
DECIDED: DPH did not violate FOIA, as the requested records were investigatory file records exempt pursuant to 29 Del. C. § 10002(l)(3).Read More
20-IB02 1/3/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Rep. Kim Williams re: FOIA Complaint Concerning Odyssey Charter School
Petitioner alleged Odyssey Charter School’s Board of Directors held a Board meeting on December 3, 2019 in a locked building that did not allow adequate public access. The Petitioner also asserted that this location also was not the Board’s typical meeting location. Petitioner further alleged the Board and its Nominating Committee improperly held executive sessions.
DECIDED: The Board did not violate FOIA in its provision of access to the December 3, 2019 meeting because it provided proper notice of the location and made arrangements for main office staff to allow access to the building. However, this Office determined that the Board’s failure to provide notice of its December 3, 2019 executive session was a violation of FOIA. The Board committed to discuss the qualifications of the candidates and take a vote selecting the Board members in open session at a future public meeting. No additional steps were recommended.Read More
20-IB01 1/3/2020 FOIA Opinion Letter to Rep. John Kowalko re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Prosperity Partnership
Petitioner alleged that the Delaware Prosperity Partnership is a public body and is obligated to respond to his request for certain records.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. DPP was determined not to be a public body subject to FOIA.Read More
19-IB68 12/30/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. George X re: FOIA Complaint Concerning New Castle County
Petitioner alleged that New Castle County redacted “flagged” information from 911 records pertaining to his address without citing a statutory exemption from FOIA. The County responded that the “flagged” information maintained in the 911 system contains specific warnings and response strategies that aid law enforcement in responding to a particular address and that the disclosure of flagged information may endanger the safety of neighboring citizens and the responding officers, and is thus exempt pursuant to 29 Del. C. § 10002(l)(17).
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. FOIA requires a public body to provide a reason for denying a request but does not require a specific citation to the statute. Based on the County’s representations, this Office found that the County properly asserted the 29 Del. C. § 10002(l)(17) exemption in these circumstances.Read More
19-IB67 12/18/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Richard Abbott re: FOIA Complaint Concerning the Delaware Department of Transportation
Petitioner alleged DelDOT improperly denied his FOIA request on behalf of his client for draft appraisals and communications regarding appraisals by citing exemptions for pending or potential litigation, trade secrets or commercial or financial information, and attorney-client privilege.
DECIDED: This Office determined that DelDOT adequately demonstrated that potential litigation with DelDOT is likely or reasonably foreseeable and the draft appraisals and the communications related to the appraisals have a clear nexus to this potential litigation. Thus, these records were exempt under 29 Del. C. § 10002(l)(9) and properly withheld under FOIA.Read More
19-IB66 11/26/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Richard Stifter re: FOIA Complaint Concerning The City of Wilmington
Petitioner alleged the City of Wilmington improperly denied his request for a certificate of insurance.
DECIDED: No violation was found. In accordance with McBurney v. Young and prior Attorney General Opinions, a Delaware public body may deny a FOIA request solely because the requesting party is not a citizen of Delaware, and the only evidence in the record indicated that the Petitioner was not a citizen.Read More
19-IB65 11/25/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Stephanie Lynch re: FOIA Complaint Concerning Sussex County
Petitioner alleged Sussex County improperly denied her FOIA requests. The County provided a cost estimate for certain records, and the Petitioner also alleged that the County improperly denied her request to reduce the cost estimate by the value of the time employees performing the search had spent on personal internet usage in a time period prior to the search.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found. The records requested related to pending or potential litigation, and no error was found in the County’s denial of the Petitioner’s request to subtract employees’ personal internet time from the costs estimated to fulfill the Petitioner’s request.Read More
19-IB64 11/12/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Ms. Kathryn Gifford re: FOIA Complaints Concerning The Christina School District
Petitioner alleged that the Christina School District Board’s October 8, 2019 vote by secret ballot to fill a vacancy violated FOIA’s open meeting requirements; that the Board must have improperly made the decision to conduct the vote by that method in executive session; and that the Board must have improperly decided on candidate interview questions outside of a public meeting.
DECIDED: In Attorney General Opinion No. 19-IB63, this Office found that the District violated FOIA with respect to the secret ballot process and the executive session at the October 8, 2019 meeting. With regard to the allegations regarding the interview format and questions, this Office accepted the representations of the Board’s attorney and found no additional FOIA violations.Read More
19-IB63 11/8/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. John Young re: FOIA Complaints Concerning The Christina School District
Petitioner alleged that the Christina School District Board’s October 8, 2019 vote by secret ballot to fill a vacancy violated FOIA’s open meeting requirements and that the Board must have improperly made the decision to conduct the vote by that method in executive session.
DECIDED: This Office determined that there were two violations of FOIA. A secret ballot violates FOIA’s open meeting requirements. This Office also found that the Board provided no factual allegations upon which to determine whether a discussion of voting procedures actually occurred during the executive session or if the executive session was held for a proper purpose. Thus, the Board failed to meet its burden of justifying the October 8, 2019 executive session.Read More
19-IB62 11/6/2019 FOIA Opinion Letter to Mr. Xerxes Wilson re: FOIA Complaint Concerning The City of Wilmington
Petitioner alleged that the City of Wilmington improperly denied their request for records of activations of the City’s gunshot detection system, ShotSpotter, by citing the exemptions for investigatory and intelligence files when the City had previously provided them and on occasion publicizes the information. The City responded that they began using such records for investigative purposes in April 2017.
DECIDED: No FOIA violation was found for asserting the investigatory file exemption for the requested records after April 2017, but this Office recommended the City review its records and provide a supplemental response for records generated before that time and for records used to publicize sets of the data requested.Read More