AG’s Office Rules Form Letters Cannot Delay Open Records

by Tony McVeigh on June 6, 2011

Form letters are not the proper way to delay a response to an Open Records request in Kentucky. That’s the legal opinion of the attorney general’s office.

On April 4th, Thomas Clifford sought medical records relating to himself from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in Frankfort. The cabinet had three days to respond, but instead used a form letter to inform Clifford it would need more time because he had failed to submit a specific form required to obtain medical records.

Clifford appealed to the attorney general’s office, which agrees Clifford must submit the proper form.

But Attorney General Jack Conway is also chastising the cabinet for its continuing use of form letters to get around the three-day Open Records response rule. Conway says he doesn’t have the power to compel the cabinet to cease the practice, but the courts do “and in the face of a pattern of non-compliance, may well elect to do so.”

Any party aggrieved by the decision may appeal to circuit court.

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