Suing The Government When It Fails To Provide Access To Information
At Ives & Flores, P.A., we understand the importance of government transparency and accountability. One way that citizens can hold their government accountable is by requesting access to public records. Public records are any documents or information that are produced or collected by a government agency in the course of conducting public business. These records are supposed to be available to the public upon request, as they are considered to be the property of the people.
However, obtaining public records can sometimes be a challenge. Government agencies may be slow to respond to requests, or they may deny access to certain records on the grounds that they are exempt from disclosure. When this happens, it can be frustrating and demoralizing for citizens who are trying to hold their government accountable.
If you have been denied access to public records that you believe should be available to you, you may have legal options. Both federal and New Mexico law provide for the right of citizens to access public records, and you may be able to file a lawsuit if you have been denied access.
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), federal agencies are required to disclose records upon request, unless the records are exempt from disclosure. There are nine exemptions to FOIA, including records that are classified for national security purposes and records that would invade personal privacy. If you have been denied access to a federal record, you may be able to file a FOIA lawsuit to try to obtain the record.
In New Mexico, the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) provides a similar right of access to public records. Under IPRA, any person has the right to inspect and obtain copies of public records, unless the records are specifically exempt from disclosure. If you have been denied access to a public record in New Mexico, you may be able to file an IPRA lawsuit to try to obtain the record, as well as monetary damages under certain circumstances.
If you believe that you have been wrongly denied access to public records, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. At Ives & Flores, P.A., we have experience handling lawsuits seeking public records, and we can help you understand your legal options. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.