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Salt Lake City Corp. v. Haik, 2014 UT App 193 (Aug. 14, 2014) 

Aug 14, 2014

The Utah Court of Appeals held that strict compliance with the notice provisions of GRAMA is not required to put a requester on notice of the basis for which a government entity denies access to certain records. The plaintiff made a request to Salt Lake City for records of the city’s private counsel retained to advise upon matters related to water exchange agreements. The city denied the request asserting attorney – client privilege, but it cited the incorrect statute in its denial. The plaintiff appealed to the Salt Lake City Record Appeals Board, which determined that the plaintiff was entitled to the records because they were not protected under the cited provisions. The city appealed to the district court, which overturned the board, finding that the denial citing to the incorrect statute was sufficient to put the plaintiff on notice of the basis for the denial. The court of appeals affirmed, finding that while the statute says the denial “shall contain” citations to the appropriate GRAMA provisions, “the result will nevertheless effectuate the policy behind the statute.” Id. ¶ ¶ 22 – 23 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).