Pamplin Media Group v. City of Salem

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 09-06-2018
  • Case #: A162248
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; & Lagesen, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

ORS 192.314(1) provides that “[e]very person has a right to inspect any public record of a public body in this state, except as otherwise expressly provided by ORS 192.338, 192.345 and 192.355.” In a proceeding brought to require a public body to disclose public records, “the burden is on the public body to sustain its action.” ORS 192.431(1).

Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s summary judgment for the City of Salem ("the City") and general judgment of dismissal. The Plaintiff assigned error to the trial court’s denial of the Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and grant of summary judgment to the City. The Plaintiff argued that the City failed to show how the public arrest record the Plaintiff requested was exempt from disclosure under ORS 419B.035. The City argued that because the incident was related to child abuse, the arrest recorded was protected from disclosure by 419B.035. “'Writings coming into the hands of public officers in connection with their official functions should generally be accessible to members of the public so that there will be an opportunity to determine whether those who have been entrusted with the affairs of government are honestly, faithfully and competently performing their function as public servants.'” American Civil Liberties Union v. City of Eugene, 360 Or 269, 281, 380 P3d 281 (2016). ORS 419B.035 requires that law officials report child abuse allegations to DHS and law enforcement agencies. It protects the investigation’s information concerning the child and the allegations. The Court held that the trial court erred in granting summary motion to the City because the City failed to show that the arrest record included information protected under ORS 419B.035. The Plaintiff has a right to the information in the requested arrest warrant, and the City may redact information that is beyond the request of the plaintiff. Reversed and remanded.

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