State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones, No. 2007-1411.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Ohio
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation119 Ohio St.3d 391,2008 Ohio 4788,894 N.E.2d 686
Docket NumberNo. 2007-1411.
Decision Date25 September 2008
PartiesThe STATE ex rel. GLASGOW v. JONES, Representative, et al.
894 N.E.2d 686
119 Ohio St.3d 391
2008-Ohio-4788
The STATE ex rel. GLASGOW
v.
JONES, Representative, et al.
No. 2007-1411.
Supreme Court of Ohio.
Submitted June 4, 2008.
Decided September 25, 2008.

[894 N.E.2d 688]

Plank & Brahm and Aaron M. Glasgow, for relator.

Nancy Hardin Rogers, Attorney General, and Sharon A. Jennings and Peggy W. Corn, Assistant Attorneys General, for respondents.

PER CURIAM.


119 Ohio St.3d 392

{¶ 1} This is an original action for a writ of mandamus to compel a state representative to provide copies of e-mail messages, text messages, and correspondence she sent or received over a general period of time in her official capacity as a representative of the Ohio General Assembly. Because the records request was overly broad and relator has not established his entitlement to the requested extraordinary relief, we deny the writ.

Background

{¶ 2} Respondent Shannon Jones is the representative for the 67th District in the Ohio House of Representatives. Along with respondent Representative Josh Mandel, she sponsored Sub.H.B. No. 151 ("H.B. No. 151"), which, if enacted, would require certain public investors to divest holdings in companies conducting specified types of business in Iran and Sudan. http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm? ID=127_HB_151.

{¶ 3} Relator, Jeffrey L. Glasgow, is an attorney who alleges that he is a Public Employee Retirement System ("PERS") retiree concerned about the effect of H.B. No. 151 on the earnings of PERS and other public-employee pensions.

{¶ 4} In June 2007, Glasgow requested the following public records from Jones for the period from the date she took office, January 1, 2007, through June 14, 2007:

{¶ 5} "1. All e-mails sent or received by you in your capacity as a State Representative from the date of your service as such Representative, specifically including, but not limited to, any e-mails having as their subject matter Substitute House Bill 151 of the 127th General Assembly or discussions that led to the introduction of Substitute House Bill 151 or any predecessor bill. This request includes any and all deleted e-mails and any e-mails stored on your office computer or on any other computer. This request also includes, but is not limited to, any and all e-mails on private e-mail systems.

{¶ 6} "2. All text messages sent or received by you in your capacity as a State Representative from the date of your service as such Representative, specifically including, but not limited to, any text messages having as their subject matter Substitute House Bill 151 of the 127th General Assembly or discussions that led to the introduction of Substitute House Bill 151 or any predecessor bill and any text messages sent or received by you during committee hearings on such Bill. This

119 Ohio St.3d 393

request includes any messages sent or received at any time on either state owned or private cellular communication devices.

{¶ 7} "3. All written correspondence sent or received by you in your capacity as a State Representative from the date of your service as such Representative including, but not limited to, correspondence having as its subject matter House Bill 151 or discussions that led to or have any connection whatsoever with the introduction of Substitute House Bill 151 of the 127th General Assembly."

{¶ 8} Glasgow requested similar records from Mandel.

{¶ 9} Jones interpreted the request addressed to her to be limited to records related to H.B. No. 151 or the general subject of divestiture of investments in Iran and Sudan. In response to the request, Jones provided a box of documents

894 N.E.2d 689

that included 26 printed e-mail messages. The e-mail messages had been sent by citizens to the general e-mail account for the 67th House District. One e-mail chain from Jones's private AOL e-mail account, which was attached as an appendix to a briefing packet for the bill, was also provided to Glasgow. Jones did not, however, provide other e-mail messages from her private account because, at the time, she did not believe that these records could be public records. Jones provided all of her office's files concerning H.B. No. 151 and divestment, including materials that might be privileged.

Mandamus Case

{¶ 10} On August 1, 2007, Glasgow filed this action for a writ of mandamus to compel Representatives Mandel and Jones to provide the requested records. Following an unsuccessful attempt at mediation, we granted an alternative writ on Glasgow's mandamus claim against Jones and stayed the claim against Mandel in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Section 522, Title 50 App., U.S.Code. Jones later provided ten more e-mails concerning H.B. No. 151 and the divestment of funds related to Iran and Sudan to Glasgow, which she discovered by asking the chief information officer of the House of Representatives to search her government e-mail account, shannon. jones@ohr.state.oh.us. Glasgow also received from PERS two e-mail messages sent to Jones at her personal AOL account that related to H.B. No. 151, which he implies establishes that Jones failed to turn over all of the requested e-mail messages.

{¶ 11} Pursuant to the alternative writ, Glasgow and Jones submitted evidence and briefs. This case is now before the court upon Glasgow's mandamus claim against Jones.

Mandamus: General Standards

{¶ 12} "Mandamus is the appropriate remedy to compel compliance with R.C. 149.43, Ohio's Public Records Act." State ex rel. Physicians Commt. for Responsible

119 Ohio St.3d 394

Medicine v. Ohio State Univ. Bd. of Trustees, 108 Ohio St.3d 288, 2006-Ohio-903, 843 N.E.2d 174, ¶ 6; R.C. 149.43(C)(1). "[T]he requirement of the lack of an adequate legal remedy does not apply to public-records cases." State ex rel. Gaydosh v. Twinsburg (2001), 93 Ohio St.3d 576, 580, 757 N.E.2d 357.

{¶ 13} The Public Records Act reflects the state's policy that "open government serves the public interest and our democratic system." State ex rel. Dann v. Taft, 109 Ohio St.3d 364, 2006-Ohio-1825, 848 N.E.2d 472, ¶ 20. Consistent with this policy, we construe R.C. 149.43 liberally in favor of broad access and resolve any doubt in favor of disclosure of public records. State ex rel. Carr v. Akron, 112 Ohio St.3d 351, 2006-Ohio-6714, 859 N.E.2d 948, ¶ 29.

{¶ 14} Before considering the merits of Glasgow's mandamus claim, it is important to recall certain definitions. "`Public record[s]' means records kept by any public office * * *.'" R.C. 149.43(A)(1). "`Public office' includes any state agency" and "`[s]tate agency' includes * * * the general assembly." R.C. 149.011(A) and (B). "`Public official' includes all officers, employees, or duly authorized representatives or agents of a public office." R.C. 149.011(D).

{¶ 15} The Ohio House of Representatives is a public office, and Representative Jones is a public official subject to R.C. 149.43. As a representative, Jones considers, sponsors, and votes upon legislation and communicates with legislators and legislative staff...

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  • Narciso v. Powell Police Dep't, Case No. 2018-01195PQ
    • United States
    • Court of Claims of Ohio
    • October 22, 2018
    ...liberally in favor of broad access, and any doubt is resolved in favor of disclosure of public records. State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones, 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 13. {¶2} On July 24, 2018, requester Dean Narciso, a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, requested "i......
  • State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Pike Cnty. Coroner's Office, Nos. 2016–1115
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 14, 2017
    ...to resolve any doubts concerning the interpretation of the Public Records Act in favor of disclosure. State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones , 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 13. When statutory language is ambiguous, it is appropriate to consider the legislative history. But t......
  • Cincinnati Enquirer v. Hamilton Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs, Case No. 2019-00789PQ
    • United States
    • Court of Claims of Ohio
    • August 25, 2020
    ...Thus, any drafts that the Board properly disposed of prior to Coolidge's request need not be produced. State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones, 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 24, fn. 1. However, this defense is not available for any drafts that were disposed of improperly, e.g......
  • Hurt v. Liberty Twp., No. 17 CAI 05 0031
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • September 22, 2017
    ...the state's policy that ‘open government serves the public interest and our democratic system.’ " State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones , 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 13, quoting State ex rel. Dann v. Taft , 109 Ohio St.3d 364, 2006-Ohio-1825, 848 N.E.2d 472, ¶ 20. "Consis......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
124 cases
  • Narciso v. Powell Police Dep't, Case No. 2018-01195PQ
    • United States
    • Court of Claims of Ohio
    • October 22, 2018
    ...liberally in favor of broad access, and any doubt is resolved in favor of disclosure of public records. State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones, 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 13. {¶2} On July 24, 2018, requester Dean Narciso, a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, requested "i......
  • State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Pike Cnty. Coroner's Office, Nos. 2016–1115
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 14, 2017
    ...to resolve any doubts concerning the interpretation of the Public Records Act in favor of disclosure. State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones , 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 13. When statutory language is ambiguous, it is appropriate to consider the legislative history. But t......
  • Cincinnati Enquirer v. Hamilton Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs, Case No. 2019-00789PQ
    • United States
    • Court of Claims of Ohio
    • August 25, 2020
    ...Thus, any drafts that the Board properly disposed of prior to Coolidge's request need not be produced. State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones, 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 24, fn. 1. However, this defense is not available for any drafts that were disposed of improperly, e.g......
  • Hurt v. Liberty Twp., No. 17 CAI 05 0031
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • September 22, 2017
    ...the state's policy that ‘open government serves the public interest and our democratic system.’ " State ex rel. Glasgow v. Jones , 119 Ohio St.3d 391, 2008-Ohio-4788, 894 N.E.2d 686, ¶ 13, quoting State ex rel. Dann v. Taft , 109 Ohio St.3d 364, 2006-Ohio-1825, 848 N.E.2d 472, ¶ 20. "Consis......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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