Civil remedies to enforce Kansas Open Records Act
Chapter 45.--PUBLIC RECORDS, DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION
Article 2.--RECORDS OPEN TO PUBLIC
45-222. Civil remedies to enforce act; attorney fees. (a) The district court of any county in which public records are located shall have jurisdiction to enforce the purposes of this act with respect to such records, by injunction, mandamus or other appropriate order, in an action brought by any person, the attorney general or a county or district attorney.
(b) In any action hereunder, the court shall determine the matter de novo. The court on its own motion, or on motion of either party, may view the records in controversy in camera before reaching a decision.
(c) In any action hereunder, the court shall award costs and a reasonable sum as an attorney's fee for services rendered in such action, including proceedings on appeal, to be recovered and collected as part of the costs to the plaintiff if the court finds that the agency's denial of access to the public record was not in good faith and without a reasonable basis in fact or law. The award shall be assessed against the public agency that the court determines to be responsible for the violation.
(d) In any action hereunder in which the defendant is the prevailing party, the court shall award to the defendant costs and a reasonable sum as an attorney's fee for services rendered in such action, including proceedings on appeal, to be recovered and collected as part of the costs if the court finds that the plaintiff maintained the action not in good faith and without a reasonable basis in fact or law.
(e) Except as otherwise provided by law, proceedings arising under this section shall be assigned for hearing and trial at the earliest practicable date.
(f) The provisions of subsections (c) and (d) concerning the awarding of costs and attorney fees for services rendered during an appeal shall apply only to actions which are based on causes of action accruing on or after July 1, 2004.
History: L. 1984, ch. 187, § 8; L. 1984, ch. 282, § 6; L. 1990, ch. 190, § 1; L. 2000, ch. 156, § 4; L. 2004, ch. 151, § 2; July 1.
The Lawrence Journal-World, 6News and KUsports.com have filed a Kansas Open Records Act request with Kansas Athletics Inc. to obtain details of the settlement agreement reached with football coach Mark Mangino.
Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director, after initially refusing to release the records, responded to the request shortly after 5:15 p.m. on Friday.
He said the settlement agreement had not yet been finalized, and suggested the request be filed again in 10 to 14 days.
He refused to discuss details of the settlement, but said that when the document is finalized, Kansas Athletics would comply with open records laws.
“We don’t really know what those laws are right now pertaining to this document until it’s finalized,” he said.
Doug Anstaett, executive director of the Kansas Press Association, said in an e-mail that Kansas state law since 2005 has been that any contracts or agreements that include compensation, whether they include public or private money, are a public record if the money is received because of the person’s public position. Along with the KPA, the Journal-World was one of the media organizations that filed the lawsuit that led to the law.
“What’s especially troubling about this latest attempt at stonewalling is that the university and its athletic corporation lost a lawsuit in 2004 when it refused to divulge (athletics director Lew) Perkins’ own compensation package, even though much of it came from private sources,” Anstaett said. “After that successful lawsuit, the Kansas Legislature passed a change to the Kansas Open Records Act that was affectionately labeled the ‘Lew Perkins Provision,’ and it opened up any and all agreements that affect compensation, even supplemental settlement agreements.”
He said it was “ludicrous” to try to hide this information from the public and that the parts of any separation agreement that refer to how Mangino will be paid are open records and should be immediately released.
The request filed Friday also requests that the athletics corporation release the results of an investigation into Mangino’s conduct as coach.
The athletics corporation denied access to those records, claiming they were directly related to job performance, and exempt from disclosure under the open records law.