Nebraska Revised Statute 84-712.03

Chapter 84 Section 712.03

84-712.03.

Public records; denial of rights; remedies.

(1) Any person denied any rights granted by sections 84-712 to 84-712.03 may elect to:

(a) File for speedy relief by a writ of mandamus in the district court within whose jurisdiction the state, county, or political subdivision officer who has custody of the public record can be served; or

(b) Petition the Attorney General to review the matter to determine whether a record may be withheld from public inspection or whether the public body that is custodian of such record has otherwise failed to comply with such sections, including whether the fees estimated or charged by the custodian are actual added costs or special service charges as provided under section 84-712. This determination shall be made within fifteen calendar days after the submission of the petition. If the Attorney General determines that the record may not be withheld or that the public body is otherwise not in compliance, the public body shall be ordered to disclose the record immediately or otherwise comply. If the public body continues to withhold the record or remain in noncompliance, the person seeking disclosure or compliance may (i) bring suit in the trial court of general jurisdiction or (ii) demand in writing that the Attorney General bring suit in the name of the state in the trial court of general jurisdiction for the same purpose. If such demand is made, the Attorney General shall bring suit within fifteen calendar days after its receipt. The requester shall have an absolute right to intervene as a full party in the suit at any time.

(2) In any suit filed under this section, the court has jurisdiction to enjoin the public body from withholding records, to order the disclosure, and to grant such other equitable relief as may be proper. The court shall determine the matter de novo and the burden is on the public body to sustain its action. The court may view the records in controversy in camera before reaching a decision, and in the discretion of the court other persons, including the requester, counsel, and necessary expert witnesses, may be permitted to view the records, subject to necessary protective orders.

(3) Proceedings arising under this section, except as to the cases the court considers of greater importance, shall take precedence on the docket over all other cases and shall be assigned for hearing, trial, or argument at the earliest practicable date and expedited in every way.

Source

Annotations

  • A party seeking a writ of mandamus under this section has the burden to satisfy three elements: (1) The requesting party is a citizen of the state or other person interested in the examination of the public records; (2) the document sought is a public record as defined by section 84-712.01; and (3) the requesting party has been denied access to the public record as guaranteed by section 84-712. Evertson v. City of Kimball, 278 Neb. 1, 767 N.W.2d 751 (2009).

  • If a requesting party satisfies its prima facie claim for release of public records under this section, the public body opposing disclosure must show by clear and convincing evidence that section 84-712.05 or 84-712.08 exempts the records from disclosure. Evertson v. City of Kimball, 278 Neb. 1, 767 N.W.2d 751 (2009).

  • When a writ of mandamus is sought pursuant to this section, the party seeking the writ must first show (1) that the party is a citizen of the state or other person interested in the examination of the public records, (2) that the document sought by the party is a public record as defined by section 84-712.01, and (3) that the party has been denied the access to the public record guaranteed by section 84-712; thereafter, if the public body holding the record wishes to oppose the issuance of a writ of mandamus, the public body must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the public record at issue is exempt from the disclosure requirement under one of the exceptions provided by section 84-712.05 or section 84-712.08. State ex rel. Neb. Health Care Assn. v. Dept. of Health and Human Services Finance and Support, 255 Neb. 784, 587 N.W.2d 100 (1998).