KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A state appeals court ruled that Raytown’s city clerk must pay a penalty for refusing to release public records to a woman whose mother died in a car wreck.
KCUR reports the Missouri Court of Appeals ruling on Tuesday clarifies when public officials can refuse a request for public records in cases when the records might be “related to” litigation.
The clerk, Teresa Henry, was ordered to pay $38,500 in attorney fees and a $4,000 civil penalty to Paula Wyrick, who wanted records about an intersection in Raytown where her mother died on New Year’s Eve 2016.
Henry refused, citing a Sunshine Law exception concerning records “related to” litigation. Wyrick had said she might sue the city over her mother’s death.
The appeals court ruled the threat of litigation is not sufficient to exempt public records from disclosure.