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City of Fort Thomas v. Cincinnati Enquirer

Kentucky Supreme Court
406 S.W.3d 842 (2013)


Facts

In March 2009, a jury convicted Cheryl McCafferty of first-degree manslaughter with respect to the death of her husband. After her conviction, the Cincinnati Enquirer (Enquirer) (plaintiff) submitted a request for the entire police file regarding the death of McCafferty’s husband. The Enquirer made the request pursuant to the Kentucky Open Records Act (ORA). The City of Fort Thomas (City) (defendant) denied the request, arguing that the ORA provided a blanket exemption for law enforcement records related to actions that were not yet complete. The City maintained that the law enforcement action was not yet complete because McCafferty could still challenge her appeal. The Enquirer appealed to the Attorney General, which found against the Enquirer. The Enquirer then sued the City for the police file pursuant to the ORA. The trial court found that the ORA provided the police department with a blanket exemption but denied the Enquirer’s request for fees and costs. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s finding of a blanket exemption, and suggested the City could or should have been ordered to pay the Enquirer’s fees and costs. The Enquirer appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Abramson, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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