Florida news org sues court clerk over copying fees

A reporter in Naples, Florida filed a suit over arguably excessive and “retaliatory” duplication fees that, she claims, vastly exceed the reasonable rate requirement codified in Florida statute.  The Clerk tried to charge $1.00 per page.  You can read the Complaint here.

This is from the Watchdog City blog:

Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Manual, on pages 167 and 168, specifically states that a Clerk of Courts cannot charge $1 a page for non-court and non-official records. The Sunshine Manual further references two Attorney General Opinions that prohibit this fee. The attorney general opinions are AGO 85-80 and AGO 94-60.

The Florida public records law, F.S. 119, sets forth copying charges for paper county documents at 15 cents a page, but it’s questionable whether Brock has the authority to impose even 15 cents per page for the electronic records sought by Naples City Desk.

You can read their entire article here.  RTDNA has weighed in too, expressing its support in a letter to the clerk.

The Tennessee Public Records Act similarly maintains a “schedule of reasonable charges”, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §8-4-604(8)(1), and described here in this article from the Comptroller’s office.  In Tennessee, it’s 15 cents for black and white and 50 cents for color.  Interestingly, public agencies may also charge a requesting party the responding individual’s hourly wage as a labor cost, to cover the labor involved in locating and duplicating the records.

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