Practice Contact: Lloyd Lunceford
Taylor Porter attorneys have valuable years of experience in working with municipal, parish, and state agencies, and also companies from various industries, on all the complex intricacies of public records requests, and in particular, the Louisiana Public Records Law. The Louisiana Public Records Law, also known as Louisiana’s Sunshine laws, is designed to ensure that public records are preserved and open to the public. It grants any person the right to inspect and reproduce public documents in the possession of the state and its political subdivisions.
Taylor Porter attorneys assist in both helping clients submit public records requests, and assisting clients on how to respond to public records requests. Generally, public records must be kept for at least three years. Other records, such as conveyance and mortgage records, must be retained permanently.
A public record is any document that is created, used or kept in order to perform the business of a public body.
Public records can include:
- Books, papers, letters, pictures, maps, drawings, recordings, or other documentary materials.
- Microfilm and electronic information such as email and any information in databases.
- Public business, such as an email or text, on a private account is generally still considered a public record.
- Certain records are kept private because of the sensitive nature in them, and examples of records that are not open to the public include:
- Budget proposal research, and trade secrets of companies
- Hospital & medical information; Insurance, health & accident information
- Criminal case investigation files
- Economic development negotiations
- Governor’s communication concerning decision-making
- Personally identifiable personal information
- Establishing right of public access under the Louisiana Public Records Act to applications for public employment
- Assisting municipal, parish, and state governmental agencies and public bodies in the application of Louisiana’s sunshine laws, including the Open Meetings and Public Records Acts
- Counseling on public records requests and freedom of information
- Representing newspapers, TV stations, and radio outlets in public records requests
- Representing universities and educational entities in public records requests
- Preserving constitutionality of case-specific epidemiological data gathered by state health officials and medical researchers
- Assisting clients in keeping electronic and paper records organized and easy to locate, and keeping records of any responses and any documents sent
- Establishing a formal retention schedule with Secretary of State for your agency
- Assisting clients on proper protocol and procedures on how to respond to public records requests
- Determining if any exceptions exist to the public records requested because if exceptions exist, there is no obligation to produce the records.
- Helping clients responding within 5 days of receiving the request; your response may be one of three things: Production of the records requested; Denial of access based on a specifically cited exception; Acknowledgement of request and provide a reasonable time estimate needed to respond to the request (fixed day and hour)
Public records requests can be complex, and the laws vary by state. Taylor Porter attorneys are available to assist clients in both the public and private sectors, and in any locale areas in which they do business, to navigate through the myriad of public records laws.