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Practice Areas • Practices • Ohio Public Records Act, Open Meetings Act, FOIA, & Sunshine Laws

More governments than you would think violate principles of open government. We know how to take them on and win.

Ohio is home to some of the broadest "sunshine laws" in the nation. The term "sunshine laws" refers generally to both public-records and open-meetings laws. The term is taken from a pair of quotes by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice:

  • "[S]unlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." Other People's Money—and How Bankers Use It (1914)
  • "If the broad light of day could be let in upon men's actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects." The Right to Privacy (1893)

Open access to information about the actions of government officials, and the bases underlying their decisions, is a cornerstone of our democracy.

Ohio's Public Records Act, R.C. 149.43, et seq.

In Ohio, public records are the people's records. With limited exemptions, you have the right to inspect and copy public records. A public office may charge only the "actual cost" of making copies, and such cost may not include the cost of labor for public employees to make the copies. At The Chandra Law Firm LLC, we have extensive experience in drafting public-records requests and enforcing the public-records statutes. Drafting requests to avoid common excuse-making is experience driven. (And government officials make lots of excuses for not producing public records.) Our experience includes bringing mandamus litigation before the Supreme Court of Ohio, Ohio's courts of appeals, and the Ohio Court of Claims, to ensure that our clients receive the public records they want and need.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office publishes annually a useful Sunshine Law Manual providing an overview of the basics of the Open Meetings Act.

Ohio's Open Meetings Act, R.C. 121.22, et seq.

Ohio law also, with limited exceptions, requires public bodies to take official action only in prearranged and publicized meetings that are open to the public. At The Chandra Law Firm LLC, we also have experience calling public bodies and officials to account for their violations of open-meetings laws.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office publishes annually a useful Sunshine Law Manual providing an overview of the basics of the Public Records Act.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The federal Freedom of Information Act also provides access, with exceptions, to federal records. The Chandra Law Firm LLC has experience in assisting clients with FOIA requests for government information.

Contact the Chandra Law Firm LLC for help holding public offices and officials accountable

We can help you craft enforceable public-records requests with which public offices must comply under applicable law. And if public offices fail to comply with your public-records requests, we can help. The Public Records Act allows citizens to file a mandamus action directly in the Supreme Court of Ohio to demand compliance with a proper public-records request.

You can reach our firm, which serves clients throughout Ohio, by calling 216-578-1700 or by filling out our online contact form.

Making the right choice in legal representation can make the difference in whether you achieve a result that protects your legal rights and best interests.

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