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The Lens Loses Public Records Lawsuit Against City Of New Orleans

An Orleans Parish judge has shot down The Lens’ lawsuit seeking that he declare that the city of New Orleans habitually fails to follow state public-records law because it doesn’t provide documents within the time frame outlined in the statute.

The law says records must be produced immediately, and if they’re in use, that a time must be set within three business days for citizens to review them. The city’s practice is to send a letter within three days stating that it is processing the request and that it would review records for anything that isn’t subject to public-records law.

Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Kern Reese appeared to support that practice. In his ruling, issued Monday, he wrote that the law is “NOT hard, fast and definite,” and that the city must screen records to remove private or privileged information.