Colorado’s open records law applies to public documents held by third parties, court says | Colorado


(The Middle Sq.) – Colorado’s open up data legislation applies to documents used for community purposes even if they are held by a 3rd-social gathering entity, a court decided on Thursday.  

The ruling from the Colorado Court docket of Appeals reversed a 2020 determination from the El Paso County District Court docket which held that Tim Leonard, a former state representative, was not entitled to any information he requested about the Interquest North Small business Enhancement District in Colorado Springs.

“When, as in this article, the requested paperwork are so intimately linked to community resources, [Colorado Open Records Act]’s intent is at its zenith,” Choose Michael Berger wrote in the impression.

According to the ruling, Leonard issued a CORA request to the enterprise district in search of “contracts with those who done the building and consulting do the job for the set up of the community enhancements paid out for by the District” and “invoices and payments built to Nor’wood and InterQuest Market, LLC, or any related entity of either, for get the job done or providers performed on behalf of the District.”

The district claimed it produced all responsive files in its possession, but Leonard sued the entity in district court docket boasting that it did not produce all the requested documents. 

The district courtroom held that InterQuest did not have to create all the documents Leonard asked for because some of the documents had been in the possession of a 3rd-occasion agency doing work on behalf of InterQuest. 

But the appellate court held that the files are “public records” underneath CORA simply because they are utilised for a general public goal, regardless of who is in possession of the records. 

“We keep that when a general public entity has a contractual ideal to access paperwork from a third celebration, that entity has “direct[ed] [the third party] to have care, custody, or command of the document[s],” the appellate panel stated in their impression. 

Leonard explained to the Colorado Flexibility of Facts Coalition that the “construction contracts, options, adjust orders, and invoices can’t be hidden by developer-controlled unique district boards from the taxpayers who want to see how their income is currently being used.”

“Thursday’s ruling wasn’t the to start with from the Colorado Court docket of Appeals favoring community access to data that aren’t straight in the possession of a public entity,” CFOIC famous in a website post. “The appellate court held in 1994 that documents maintained by a Coors Area contractor hired by the Denver Metropolitan Big League Baseball Stadium District were community documents subject to CORA.”


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