Courts Deny FOILers’ Attorneys’ Fees in Nearly 1 in 4 Lawsuits Even When Records Provided and Agencies Have No Reason to Refuse Records
Reinvent Albany Analysis of 100 FOIL Lawsuits Makes Case for Governor Signing A.2750-A (Paulin)/S.2392-A (Gallivan)
Reinvent Albany estimates there are 200,000 FOIL requests made annually to New York State and local governments. If an agency does not grant a request for records, FOILers may file an Article 78 proceeding in New York Supreme Court, the lowest level state court. However, very few FOILers do so because of the expense, time and expertise involved in a court proceeding. According to the state’s Fastcase database, during the 11 3/4 year period from 2006 to September 2017, there were 893 court cases in which members of the public asked judges to order agencies to release public records — an average of 76 FOIL cases per year for New York’s thousands of state and local governments. Based on an analysis of State and New York City agency and authority FOIL logs, Reinvent Albany conservatively estimates that there are at least 200,000 FOIL requests filed each year. Therefore, roughly one in every 2,631 FOIL requests leads to an Article 78.
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