Involving previously closed records
he judge in an ongoing open records lawsuit has ordered the City of Parkville to produce documents sought by the plaintiff as part of the discovery process.
Judge James Van Amburg ordered the city to produce all documents responsive to area resident Jason Maki’s open records request previously considered to be closed or confidential under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
These documents may include previously withheld communications between city officials and the developers of the controversial Creekside development.
The city must produce these documents by April 12 and the documents and electronically stored information must be produced in its native format with all metadata preserved, according to the judge’s ruling.
Per the judge’s order, the documents shall continue to be a closed record and shall not be disclosed by Maki to the general public without a ruling that any such record should be open to the public.
In addition, the judge ruled in favor of Maki’s argument that the City of Parkville has forfeited its attorney-client privilege related to his Sunshine requests.
“Defendant City of Parkville has asserted ‘advice of counsel’ as a defense to Mr. Maki’s claims and therefore [the city] has waived privilege and work product protections for communications with its counsel related to the city’s responses to Mr. Maki’s Sunshine request. The city’s waiver does not extend to its communications with litigation counsel and litigating this case or work product related thereto,” states the judge’s order.
The order is the latest in an ongoing Sunshine Law dispute in which Maki is suing the city for failing to release documents he believed to be illegally withheld. The Sunshine Law is intended to safeguard government transparency.
To date, the City of Parkville has spent over $130,000 in combating the lawsuit and the city’s costs are likely to accelerate rapidly as both sides are scheduled to begin depositions in May.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday, April 12, at 1:30 p.m.