521 N.W.2d 841 (Mich.App. 1994), 155579, Hyson v. Department of Corrections

Docket Nº:Docket No. 155579.
Citation:521 N.W.2d 841, 205 Mich.App. 422
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:Douglas H. HYSON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendant-Appellee.
Attorney:Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Thomas L. Casey, Sol. Gen., and Susan B. Moody, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant.
Judge Panel:[205 Mich.App. 423] Before SAWYER, P.J., and RICHARD ALLEN GRIFFIN and PAJTAS [*] , JJ.
Case Date:February 10, 1994
Court:Court of Appeals of Michigan
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 841

521 N.W.2d 841 (Mich.App. 1994)

205 Mich.App. 422

Douglas H. HYSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendant-Appellee.

Docket No. 155579.

Court of Appeals of Michigan.

February 10, 1994

Submitted Oct. 12, 1993.

Approved for Publication May 18, 1994, at 9:10 a.m.

Released for Publication July 18, 1994.

Page 842

Douglas H. Hyson, in pro. per.

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Thomas L. Casey, Sol. Gen., and Susan B. Moody, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant.

[205 Mich.App. 423] Before SAWYER, P.J., and RICHARD ALLEN GRIFFIN and PAJTAS [*] , JJ.

PER CURIAM.

Plaintiff appeals as of right from the circuit court order which granted summary disposition to defendant and dismissed plaintiff's complaint for an alleged violation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), M.C.L. § 15.231 et seq.; M.S.A. § 4.1801(1) et seq. We affirm.

Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections and is confined in the Kinross Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan. Around April 14, 1992, defendant received plaintiff's FOIA request for memos and statements made by confidential informants in a prison disciplinary proceeding against him. Plaintiff emphasized in his request that he was not seeking the names of the informants, but only their statements. On April 16, 1992, defendant denied plaintiff's request, indicating that the requested information was exempt from disclosure because it constituted an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Around May 12, 1992, plaintiff filed the instant action seeking disclosure of the documents, attorney fees and punitive damages. Defendant moved for summary disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(10), and attached the affidavit of David Cason, its FOIA coordinator at the Kinross Facility. Cason averred that (1) the record consisted of statements by confidential witnesses and contained purely confidential information; (2) the content of the report and handwriting would reveal the identity even if the name of the source was deleted; (3) disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of the informant's personal privacy; and (4) [205 Mich.App. 424] disclosure would present a risk to the informant's safety as well as to the security of the prison.

The trial court granted defendant's motion, finding that the documents were exempt from disclosure. The court also denied plaintiff's request for attorney fees and punitive damages. Plaintiff argues that the trial court erred in holding that the documents were exempt from disclosure. We disagree.

Under the FOIA, a public body must disclose all public records that are not specifically exempt under the Act. M.C.L. § 15.233(1); M.S.A. § 4.1801(3)(1); Yarbrough v. Dep't of Corrections, 199 Mich.App. 180, 183, 501 N.W.2d 207 (1993). M.C.L. § 15.243; M.S.A. § 4.1801(13) lists several incidences for which public records may be exempt from disclosure. These exemptions are to be narrowly construed and the burden of proof is on the public body claiming exemption from disclosure. Booth Newspapers, Inc. v. University of Michigan Board of...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP