Counselors and Attorneys at Law

Louisiana public records law

Louisiana Public Records Law

Louisiana public records law is a powerful tool that shines a light on the public's business and information. This 13 minute overview will introduce you to the basics from the perspective of records custodians, record requesters and litigants. There are three potential client groups that can utilize public records; Custodians, Requestors, and Litigants. 1) Overview

a) Definitions

i) Public record ii) Custodian iii) Exclusions & exceptions

b) Viewing

i) May request identification, age and sign register ii) Produce records immediately if available iii) No charge

c) Copying

i) Written request ii) Reasonable charges iii) Written response if not immediately available

(1) Three days by statute (2) Five days to avoid enforcement penalties

d) Enforcement

i) Attorney fees and costs are mandatory after five days ii) $100 per day penalties and damages if delay is unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious iii) Custodian personally liable for fees, costs, penalties & damages

e) Judicial action

i) Ordinary or summary proceeding ii) Declaratory action, mandamus, injunction & contempt iii) Priority and preference thru appeal

f) Jurisprudence

i) Copeland v Copeland - sealed court records ii) Shane v The Parish of Jefferson- personal right to privacy iii) The Independent v Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope - Contempt & persons

2) Tips

a) Read the entire statute - LRS 44:1 et seq b) Be specific - avoid "any and all" c) Be practical - what do you really need d) Be courteous - do not play "gotcha" e) Keep photocopies of all communications and requests