Public Records

League members may also request an opinion directly from the League via email. Please include the subject heading and number when making such a request.

87. Discusses recent court of appeals' decision, Klein v. Wisconsin Resource Center, No. 97-0679 (Wis. Ct. App. April 1, 1998) (publication recommended), holding that the reasoning in Woznicki v. Erickson, 202 Wis.2d 178, 549 N.W.2d 699 (1996) (where the Wisconsin Supreme Court recognized for the first time a specific cause of action by individuals seeking to block the disclosure of public records implicating their privacy interests),"permits a state employee who is the 'target' of a request for personnel records to challenge a record custodian's decision to release such information." Concludes that, as a result of the Kleindecision, municipal employers should, before releasing a municipal employee personnel file to a records requester, notify the "targeted" employee of the decision to release the record and allow the employee a reasonable amount of time to seek circuit court review of the custodian's decision. (3/31/98).

88. In Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin v. Waunakee Community School District, No. 97-3282 (Wis. Ct. App. August 27, 1998) (publication recommended), the Court of Appeals held that a school district was not required by the public records law to obtain the payroll records of certain subcontractors working on a school construction project and provide them to a labor union affiliated organization that had requested the records pursuant to sec. 19.36(3), Stats. 8/31/98.

89. According to Wisconsin Legislative Council Staff Information Memorandum 98-34 (September 8, 1998), the federal Social Security Act provides that social security numbers obtained or maintained by an officer or employee of a municipality under any provision of law enacted on or after October 1, 1990, are confidential and may not be disclosed. 42 U.S.C. sec. 405(c)(2)(C)(vii)(I). The federal law requiring confidential treatment of social security numbers does not apply, however, to social security numbers obtained by municipalities under authority enacted before October 1, 1990. Records custodians must therefore apply the balancing test when determining whether to disclose such records. Contrary to the conclusion of the author of the Legislative Council Information Memorandum, we believe the public policy reasons supporting nondisclosure of social security numbers, such as protecting the privacy of individuals, will in most instances outweigh the public policy favoring disclosure of public records. 10/29/98.

90. Whenever a record custodian decides to disclose information implicating the privacy and/or reputational interests of an individual public employee, the employee has a right to be notified of that decision so that the employee may seek de novo judicial review of that decision. See Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association v. Milwaukee Bd. of School Directors, Case No. 97-0308 (Wis. Sup. Ct., July 8, 1999), clarifying that Woznicki v. Erickson, 202 Wis.2d 178, 549 N.W.2d 699 (1996) applies to all custodians and not just district attorneys. 6/30/99.

91. The public interest in protecting the privacy interest of employees of a private company engaged in a public works project outweighs the public interest in disclosing the employees' names. Kraemer Brothers, Inc. v. Dane County, Case No. 98-3061 (Ct. App. June 24, 1999) (publication recommended). 6/30/99.

92. A newly elected member of a governing body has no greater right to the written minutes of a past closed session that occurred before the member was elected than the general public does under Wisconsin's public records law. Opinion briefly reviews law relating to pledges of confidentiality, confidentiality of settlement records and attorney-client privilege in context of public records law. 7/30/99.

93. The "contractor's records" provision of public records law, sec. 19.36(3), Stats., does not require municipalities to obtain and release the names of the ultimate purchasers of municipal bonds issued by the municipality according to a recent decision by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Machotka v. Village of West Salem, 2000 WI App 43, 607, N.W.2d 319. 3/31/00.

94. Police chief's production of analog recording of digitally recorded 911 call was insufficient response under Wisconsin public records where requester sought to have chief give requester's expert access to record for purpose of examining the record and making a digital copy. Section 19.36(4), Stats., allows a requester the right to inspect and make a copy of a record, and court stated that a "potent open records law must remain open to technological advances." State ex rel. Milwaukee Police Ass'n v. Jones, 2000 WI App 146, 615 N.W.2d 190. 9/30/00.

95. Local officials' e-mails relating to municipal business which are kept or maintained by the local official or another authority constitute records which can be requested under Wisconsin's public records law. 12/29/00.

96. In response to an open records request under section 19.35 of the Wisconsin Statutes, a records custodian must balance the competing interests for access against those favoring denial but is not required to state his or her reasoning for deciding to release records, only the resulting conclusion. Atlas Transit, Inc. et al. v. Korte, Case Nos. 01-0189 & 01-0295 (Ct. App. Nov. 13, 2001) (recommended for publication). 11/30/01.

97. The open records law applies to the report of a police investigation where the investigation has been closed, and where no enforcement action has been taken or is contemplated. However, law enforcement records present special concerns and the Wisconsin Supreme Court has attempted to provide custodians with some guidance on dealing with the open records law as it relates to police records, and to identify factors that records custodians should take into consideration before law enforcement records are publicly released. See Linzmeyer v. Forcey, 2002 WI 84, Case No. 01-0197 (July 2, 2002). 6/28/02.

98. Local units of government can dispose of certain common records in less than seven years and without further notification of either the Wisconsin Public Records Board or the Wisconsin Historical Society. This note explains the record schedule prepared by the Department of Administration Records Management Section and approved by the Public Records Board which is entitled General Records Schedule: Common Records in Wisconsin State Agencies and Local Units of Government. The schedule identifies common records that have little continuing value once their purpose has been served. The records schedule authorizes local governments to destroy such records in the normal course of business, regardless of the record's form (i.e., paper or electronic). 10/31/02.

99. Because none of the statutory provisions establishing the public's right to access public records "requires a request to contain any 'magic words' nor do they prohibit the use of any words,""a records request triggers a duty to respond or provide the records under the Wisconsin open records law regardless of any extraneous terms or mislabeling in the request if "'it reasonably describes the requested record or the information requested.'" ECO, Inc. v. City of Elkhorn, 2002 WI App 303. 1/31/03.

100. This legal comment highlights the significant changes made to Wisconsin's public records law by 2003 Wis. Act 47, effective August 26, 2003. The law partially codifies the right to notification and judicial review prior to the release of records implicating privacy and reputational interests first recognized by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Woznicki v. Erickson, 202 Wis.2d 178, 549 N.W.2d 699 (1996) and extended in Milwaukee Teachers' Educ. Ass'n v. Milwaukee Bd. of School Directors, 227 Wis.2d 779, 596 N.W.2d 403 (1999). However, the new legislation limits the right to very specific records pertaining to public and private sector employees and clarifies that local public officials have no right to judicial review prior to release of such records although they do have the right to notice of the record's impending release and the right to augment the record with written comment and documentation. 8/29/03.

101. Discusses recent changes made to Wisconsin's public records law by 2003 Wis. Act 47, effective August 26, 2003, which creates the following three categories of employee records: (1) Employee-related records that may be released under the general balancing test without providing a right of notice or judicial review to the employee record subject; (2) Employee-related records that may be released under the balancing test only after a notice of impending release and the right of judicial review have been provided to the employee record subject; and (3) Employee-related records that are absolutely closed to public access under the open records law. 8/29/03.

102. Wisconsin's public records law, as amended by 2003 Wis. Act 47, prohibits the release of specific records including, with a few exceptions, the release of records containing information concerning the home address, home e-mail address, home telephone number or social security number of employees, local public officials, and individuals holding an elective public office. Secs. 19.36(10) (11) and (12), Stats. 8/29/03.

103. The important public policy of encouraging victims and witnesses of employment discrimination to cooperate in internal investigations of such conduct by maintaining confidentiality of information obtained from such sources outweighs the public's right to access the investigation records under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35 where the confidentiality protection is necessary to encourage not only the person filing the complaint, but also those assisting in the investigation, from being harassed by other workers, members of the public, and to enable the department to gather statements from members of the department without interference from within or outside the department. Hempel v. City of Baraboo, Appeal No. 03-0500 (Ct. App.3 November 20, 2003) (recommended for publication). 12/30/03.

104. Summarizes 2003 Wisconsin Act 294, which attempts to unify and codify all current federal and state laws governing the use of electronic records, transactions, and signatures. Act 294 adopts, with minor changes, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), as approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1999. Wisconsin Act 294 also incorporates some provisions of the "Electronic Signatures and Global and National Commerce Act," commonly known as "E-Sign" which took effect on October 1, 2000. Wisconsin joins forty-four states that have acted to incorporate the UETA and E-Sign laws with related state laws. 7/30/04

105. "[T]he term 'investigation' in sec. 19.36(10)(b) includes only that conducted by the public authority itself as a prelude to possible employee disciplinary action" and "an authority's investigation achieves its 'disposition' when the authority acts to impose discipline on an employee as a result of the investigation, regardless of whether an employee elects to pursue grievance arbitration or another review mechanism that may be available under applicable statutes, ordinances, regulations or a collective bargaining agreement." Local 2489 v. Rock County, 2004 WI App 210, __ Wis. 2d __, __ N.W.2d __. 12/30/04.

106. The public interest in nondisclosure of internal police investigative records relating to a sexual harassment complaint outweighs the public interest in release of the records under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(1)(a) and an officer who has a nondisciplinary memo placed in his personnel file for three years for possible consideration if another complaint of a similar nature is received is the subject of an investigation "in connection with a complaint" that may lead to an enforcement proceeding and therefore is not entitled to release of the records under sec. 19.35(1)(am), which gives a requester an additional right to inspect records containing personally identifiable information pertaining to the individual. Hempel v. City of Baraboo, 2005 WI 120, aff'g 2003 WI App 254, 268 Wis.2d 534, 674 N.W.2d 38. 7/29/05.

107. This legal comment discusses how Wisconsin's public records law applies to individual local officials like governing body members and members of boards and commissions. The comment addresses common questions that arise like what records local officials should keep, what constitutes a public record, how long the records must be retained, and other important information under the public records law. 11/30/06.

108. This legal comment concludes that as a practical matter, individual local officials do not need to maintain public records that are regularly retained elsewhere in the municipality, despite the fact that a literal reading of the public records law might be argued to require it. In addition, it advises that a practical interpretation of the statute will advance the purposes underlying the public records law without creating an absolute records management and storage nightmare for individual local officials. 11/30/06.

109. A records requester who substantially prevails in a request for records containing personally identifiable information under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(1)(am) is not entitled to attorneys fees under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.37(2)(a). Kang v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, Appeal # 2005AP507 (Wis. Ct. App; 9/21/06) (publication recommended). 9/30/06.

110. Municipalities that contract with private firms to provide government services should address public records compliance issues and contracts should contain indemnification and hold harmless clauses to protect the municipality in the event that the firm's failure to produce such records results in municipal liability under the public records law. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757. 1/3/07.

111. The public records law contemplates holding municipalities, but not their independent contractors, responsible for public records law violations. Municipalities are the statutory authorities obligated to uphold the letter and spirit of the open records law and they cannot evade their duties by shifting the creation and maintenance of certain records to independent contractors. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757.. 1/3/07.

112. Section 19.35(4) of the public records law requires an authority to fill a request for records or notify the requester of the reasons for denial "as soon as practicable and without delay." Compliance at some unidentified time in the future is not authorized by the open records law and an authority has only two options under the public records law: comply or deny. An authority's failure to promptly respond to a request constitutes a denial, authorizing the requester to pursue a mandamus action in order to compel an appropriate response. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757. 1/3/07.

113. A response to a public records request does not have to contain any magic words such as "deny" or "refuse" for a requester to construe it as a refusal and an offer of compliance with a request that is conditioned on unauthorized costs and terms constitutes a denial of that request. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757. 1/3/07.

114. A requester is entitled under the public records law to examine, copy or receive a copy of source material such as a digital recording or the raw data that was entered into a software program and it violates the public records law to refuse access to the source material and provide a copy in a different format even if that format contains the same basic information. Thus, it violated the public records law to provide a portable document file (PDF) when a requester sought property assessment records in the format created and maintained by the municipalities' independent contractor assessors in a computer database just as it was insufficient for a police chief to provide an analog copy of a 911 tape when a digital copy was requested. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757, citing State ex rel. Milwaukee Police Ass'n v. Jones, 2000 WI App 146, 237 Wis. 2d 840, 615 N.W.2d 190. 1/3/07.

115. In Deicher v. City of Evansville, a jury found that a police officer violated the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) by obtaining a woman's address from department of motor vehicle records and releasing the information to the woman's estranged ex-husband. This legal comment examines the effect of Deicher on public records request for police department records such as accident reports that routinely contain information obtained from DMV records. 4/6/07.

116. This is the second part of a two-part Comment focusing on the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and how it impacts on law enforcement agencies handling public record requests for records that may contain information taken from DMV records.  Also discusses how an agreement governing a law enforcement agency's use of the DOJ's TIME system may be treated under the public record law. 4/30/07.

117. Denial letter from authority that begins with reference to Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(1)(am) but contains ten other reasons for denial and does not state that sequence in which the reasons are listed represents either their order of consideration or their order of importance does not demand determination that authority applied improper sequence under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(4)(c). Seifert v. School District of Sheboygan Falls,2007 WI App 207. 8/31/07.

118. The recognized statutory and common-law exception for attorney work product support authority denial of access to records generated in response to formal written indication and verbal declarations establishing possibility of litigation, even if litigation not certain and imminent. Seifert v. School District of Sheboygan Falls, 2007 WI App 207. 8/31/07.

119. An authority may properly consider potential litigation by records requester against authority in its balancing test analysis under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(1)(a) since a whole-picture analysis may involve some interplay between secs. 19.35(1)(a) and 19.35(1)(am). Seifert v. School District of Sheboygan Falls,2007 WI App 207. 8/31/07.

120. An authority may properly deny request under Wis. Stat. 19.35(1)(am) for allrecords containing personally identifiable information about requester where requested records have been generated pursuant to investigation in response to a notice of injury to authority and threat of suit against authority by requester since such records fall squarely in the sec. 19.35(1)(am) exemption for records collected or maintained in connection with a complaint, investigation, or other circumstances that may lead to a court proceeding. Seifert v. School District of Sheboygan Falls,2007 WI App 207. 8/31/07.

121. A custodian's alleged failure to retain public records may not be attacked under the public records law because the duty to retain records is not established by the public records law. State ex rel. Gehl v. Connors, Appeal No. 2006AP2455 (Wis. Ct. App. Oct., 18, 2007) (recommended for publication). 10/31/07.

122. The public records law does not require records requests be limited to those records that are necessary for an announced purpose because such requirement is inconsistent with Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(1)(i) which provides that no public records request may be refused on the grounds that the requester is "unwilling to be identified or to state the purpose of the request." State ex  rel. Gehl v. Connors,  Appeal No. 2006AP2455 (Wis. Ct. App. Oct., 18, 2007) (recommended for publication). 10/31/07.

123. A records request which may result in the generation of a large volume of records is not, in itself, a sufficient reason to deny a request under Wis. Stat. 19.35(1)(h) as not properly limited. State ex rel. Gehl v. Connors, Appeal No. 2006AP2455 (Wis. Ct. App. Oct., 18, 2007) (recommended for publication). 10/31/07.

124. A records request that is not tied to any particular subject matter and seeks production of a large volume of records without regard to the parties involved and without regard to whether the matters implicated the requester's interests in any way is overly broad and may be rejected under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(1)(h). State ex rel. Gehl v. Connors, Appeal No. 2006AP2455 (Wis. Ct. App. Oct., 18, 2007) (recommended for publication). 10/31/07.

125. Chapter 51 emergency mental health detention reports in the custody of a municipal police department are neither a "registration record" nor a "treatment record" subject to the confidentiality provisions of Wis. Stat. 51.30(4), especially when the subject of such reports has made his mental condition a matter of public record and waived any patient-physician privilege related to such records. Watton v. Hegerty, 2007 WI App 267, 744 N.W.2d 619, Petition for Review granted. 12/5/07.

126. Sheriff's department violated the public records law when it denied a newspaper's request for an incident report on the grounds that the matter had been referred to the local district attorney's office for review. The sheriff's department, as an independent authority with the relevant record, was not entitled to rely on the common-law exemption for records in district attorneys' files created in State ex rel. Richards v. Foust, 165 Wis. 2d 429, 477 N.W.2d 608 (1991), and the denial did not provide any specific policy reasons for denying the request. Portage Daily Register v. Columbia County Sheriff's Department,2008 WI App 30, 746 N.W.2d 525. 2/1/08.

127. Municipalities must handle records requests "as soon as practicable and without delay" and a municipality that is making a diligent, good faith effort to determine how to respond to a complex records request should be given reasonable latitude in the time frame for responding. What constitutes a reasonable time for response depends on the nature of the request, the staff and other resources available to process the request, the extent of the request and other related considerations and whether an authority is acting with reasonable diligence in a particular case will depend upon the totality of the circumstances surrounding the particular request. Requester prematurely filed mandamus action where municipalities had not denied complex records request and were making diligent good faith effort to ascertain the legal and technical requirements of providing the records. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2008 WI 69, aff’g in part and rev’g in part 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757. 7/1/08.

128. An independent contractor is not an "authority" under the public records law and is not the proper recipient of a public records request. A municipality cannot avoid liability under the open records law by contracting with an independent contractor and then directing any requester of those records to the independent contractor who has custody of the records. Independent contractor assessors are not "local public officials" under sec. 19.42(7w)(c)-(d) and 19.32(1dm). WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2008 WI 69, aff'g in part and rev'g in part 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757. 7/1/08.

129. Municipality did not violate public records law by providing record in PDF format to requester who asked for "digital/electronic" copy of assessment database and wanted to be able to manipulate data, where requester only made "enhanced format" request to independent contractor and not municipality. Allowing requesters direct access to an authority’s electronic database would pose substantial risks like exposing confidential data that is not subject to disclosure under the open records law, or intentional or inadvertent damage of the database. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2008 WI 69, aff'g in part and rev'g in part 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757. 7/1/08.

130. Under Wis. Stat. sec. 19.35(3)(a), an authority may charge a requester for the authority's actual costs in complying with a request and although it may not make a profit, it can recoup all of its actual costs. WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex, Village of Thiensvillle, City of Port Washington, 2008 WI 69, aff'g in part and rev'g in part 2007 WI App 22, 298 Wis.2d 743, 729 N.W.2d 757. 7/1/08.

131. The Mental Health Act, ch. 51 of the Wisconsin Statutes, precludes release under the Wisconsin Public Records Law of duplicate copies of statements of emergency detention that are in the possession of a municipal police department. Watton v. Hegerty, 2008 WI 74.

132. The mayor of a city that does not have a police and fire commission with optional powers is the default public records law legal custodian for the city police department pursuant to Wis. Stat. secs. 19.33(4), 62.09(8)(d) and 62.09(13)(a). 12/31/08.

133. Website content “is more likely than not a public record subject to the Wisconsin public records law” where website content relates to duties and functions of public official who creates, maintains or keeps website. Informal Opinion of Wis. Att’y Gen. to Ms. Gail A. Peckler-Dziki, OAG I-06-09 (Dec. 23, 2009). 1/31/10.

134. Emails that are created or maintained by government employees on government-owned computer systems but which are purely personal in nature, have no connection to the government's functions and evince no violation of law or policy, are not subject to disclosure under the Wisconsin Public Records Law. Personal e-mails used as evidence by an employer in a disciplinary matter or to investigate misuse of government resources by an employee are records under the public records law and may be subject to disclosure. Where emails are personal in part and also have some connection with the government function, the custodian may need to redact the personal content and release the portion connected to the government function. Schill v. Wisconsin Rapids School District, 2010 WI 86. (Melanie Swank) 7/30/10.

135. The Wisconsin Public Records law only allows for punitive damage awards in mandamus actions, not independent civil actions. Capital Times Co. v. James E. Doyle, Appeal No. 2010AP1685 (Ct. App. Sep. 28, 2011)(publication recommended). 10/31/11.

136. Wisconsin’s public records law does not authorize authorities to charge public records requesters for the actual, necessary, and direct costs incurred by the authority to delete or redact nondisclosable information included within the records responsive to the request. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel v. City of Milwaukee, 2012 WI 65. 6/30/12.

137. Legal comment discusses the need for law enforcement agencies to evaluate their use of DMV records and subsequent disclosure of that information in light of 7th Circuit decision holding Illinois village violated the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) by placing a parking citation containing personal information taken from DMV records on the windshield of a car parked in violation of a village ordinance. Senne v. Village of Palatine, No. 10-3243, (7th Cir. en banc, Aug. 6, 2012). 9/30/12.

138. Legal comment provides overview of laws requiring local officials to deliver official property and records to successors, and explains legal procedures and requirements governing retention and destruction of public records and the role played by the State Public Records Board and the State Historical Society. 11/30/12.

139. A liability insurance policy between an authority and its insurer creates a unique contractual relationship between the authority and a law firm hired by the insurance company to represent the authority, which makes the “contractors’ records” provision of the public records law, Wis. Stat. sec. 19.36(3), applicable to invoices submitted by the law firm to the insurance company. Juneau County Star-Times v. Juneau County, 2013 WI 4, __ Wis. 2d __, __ N.W.2d __. 1/31/13.

140. An attorneys solicitation of clients is not a permissible purpose under the exception to the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) in 18 U.S.C. sec. 2721(b)(4) which allows obtaining personal information from a state DMV for use “in connection with” judicial and administrative proceedings including investigation in anticipation of litigation.  The phrase “in connection with” must be interpreted narrowly as a limiting principle consistent with the DPPA’s purpose and its other provisions.  Reading (b)(4) to permit disclosure of personal information when there is any connection between protected information and a potential legal dispute would substantially undermine DPPA’s purpose of protecting a right to privacy in motor vehicle records. Maracich v. Spears, 133 S.Ct. 2191, (June 17, 2013). 6/30/13.

141. Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) only prohibits release or re-release of certain personal information obtained from Department of Motor Vehicle records and redaction of all personal information from records without regard for where the information comes from is not appropriate and may violate the public records law. Records custodians are understandably hesitant to rely on the 2008 informal attorney general opinion  that a law enforcement agency responding to a public records request may release records containing personal information obtained by the law enforcement agency from motor vehicle records in the course of carrying out its agency functions since the opinion was written prior to Senne v. Village of Palatine and Maracich v. Spears, court decisions indicating DPPA exemptions should be narrowly construed, and the Attorney General’s office has declined repeated requests to provide guidance on how the DPPA and the public records law intersect in light of these recent cases. 9/30/13.
142. Circuit court decision in New Richmond News vs. City of New Richmond, Case No. 13 CV 163, concluding that 7th Circuit’s interpretation of DPPA in Senne v. Palatine was inapplicable to case involving request under Wisconsin’s public records law and that police department’s redaction of personal information obtained from DMV records from police reports was not required under Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and was subject to release under Wisconsin public records law, has no precedential value except as to the parties and cannot be relied upon by other municipalities. New Richmond News vs. City of New Richmond, Case No. 13 CV 163. 3/1/14.
143. Where a record requester’s violent history against the subject of the record is well-documented and it is clear that the requester’s intent in requesting the information is inconsistent with open record law’s purpose of providing an opportunity for public oversight of the workings of government, a custodian may appropriately conclude under the balancing test that the case is an exceptional one in which the records should not be disclosed because the importance of protecting the safety and welfare of record subject outweighs the presumption in favor of disclosure. State ex rel. Ardell v. Milwaukee Board of School Directors, 2013AP1650 (Ct. App. May 6, 2014) (publication recommended). 5/31/14.
144. A sender’s name and email address associated with an email to a government official is related to the officials’ acts and government functions and therefore subject to release under the Wisconsin Public Records Law. The John K. McIver Institute for Public Policy, Inc. v. Jon Erpenbach, 2014 WI App 49, __ Wis.2d __, __ N.W.2d __. 5/31/14.

145. When a records custodian suggests records exist and thereby induces a requester to commence a mandamus action to obtain the records and incur attorney fees and costs, the custodian may not later defend against such claims on the grounds that the requested records did not exist. 6/30/14.

146. Explains form that represents interim compromise solution reached by League, news media, municipal insurers and other municipal groups to address uncertainty about how Wisconsin’s public records law and the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) intersect. 7/31/14.

148. Article highlights legal issues associated with the use of smart phones, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices by local officials that arise under the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law, Wisconsin Public Records Law and due or fair process requirements. 4/30/15.

149.The DPPA applies only to information taken directly from DMV records. Information obtained from another source and verified using DMV records is not subject to the DPPA as long as, upon verification, the information is not substantively altered to conform to the DMV records. Law enforcement agencies can release unredacted uniform traffic accident reports under DPPA exception 18 U.S.C. § 2721(b)(14) which allows disclosure of personal information from DMV records "[f]or any other use specifically authorized under the law of the State that holds the records, if such use is related to the operation of a motor vehicle or public safety." Wis.State.sec.346.70(4)(f), which provides that any person may "with proper care . . . and subject to such orders or regulations as the custodian thereof prescribes, examine or copy . . . uniform traffic accident reports . . . retained by local authorities . . . or any other investigating law enforcement agency" is a use specifically authorized under Wisconsin law and is related to the operation of a motor vehicle or public safety. Accordingly, a law enforcement agency's disclosure of personal information contained in accident reports is permissible under 18 U.S.C. § 2721(b)(14). Richmond News v. City of New Richmond, 2014 AP 1938 (Ct. App. 5/10/2016, publication recommended).5/31/16

150.  I-247 immigration detainer forms issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are exempt from disclosure under Wisconsin’s public records law. Voces De La Frontera Inc. v. Clarke, 2017 WI 16, 373 Wis.2d 348, 891 N.W.2d 803.  09/01/17