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When Requests for Records are Denied

Reference Number: MTAS-449
Reviewed Date: 09/14/2022

When a municipality denies a request for records or impedes a requestor’s ability to access public records, the Act guarantees the requestor’s right to petition a court for access to the records. T.C.A. § 10-7-505(a). At trial, the municipality has the burden of proving that it did not violate the Act. T.C.A. § 10-7-505(c). A court must then weigh the evidence presented by the municipality against the court’s duty to construe the Act “to give the fullest possible access to public records.” T.C.A. § 10-7-505(d). If the court finds that the municipality “willfully” violated the Act, the “court may, in its discretion, assess all reasonable costs involved in obtaining the record, including reasonable attorneys' fees, against the municipality.” T.C.A. § 10-7-505(g).