City Must Pay Newspaper’s Legal Fees

The city of Jackson has been held accountable for legal fees incurred due to a public records lawsuit.

The city of Jackson must pay The Jackson Sun more than $41,000 in legal fees and expenses for a public records lawsuit the newspaper filed against the city.

Chancellor James F. Butler ruled in the case Tuesday citing a statute in the state Public Records Act that allows a court to assess all reasonable costs involved in obtaining a public record from a government entity that has willfully refused to disclose it.


In the 2005 lawsuit, The Sun said that city officials wrongly denied access to public records and failed to respond to the newspaper’s request for those records. The newspaper contended that the city either wrongly claimed the requested records, were not open to the public or ignored the requests.

The newspaper was seeking access to three groups of information:

  • Field interview cards, which are police files created when officers stop citizens, question them and sometimes photograph them without making an arrest.
  • Financial records for the Diamond Jaxx, whose owners had notified the city of plans to relocate because of consecutive years of losses.
  • The January 2005 911 tape of a call made by a victim in the Tennessee Department of Transportation garage shooting involving David Lynn Jordan.
  • ┬áThe story is here.

    0 comments for “City Must Pay Newspaper’s Legal Fees

    1. cathymccaughan
      February 1, 2008 at 8:39 am

      Does Jackson HAVE 41K? That’s more than most of its’ residents make in a year.

    2. February 1, 2008 at 9:09 am

      That’s a good point. I’m pretty sure it will probably be more in line with legal fees but I’m not sure.

    3. February 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm

      GOOD! Elected officials in the state of Tennessee should be on notice that an informed citizenery demands and expects a transparent government and one that is accountable to the people and the law. Politicians that break the law and must pay for legal expenses to defend their law breaking are robbing tax payers. They are no better than crooks that invade our homes and help themselves to our lives and our property.

      When the check clears in Jackson, tax payers ought to bring a civil suit against the elected officials involved for full reimbursement to the city and people of Jackson.

    4. February 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm

      As a newspaper woman, Christian, you know I’m with you here.
      The law is the law. No one is above it.