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


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

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