Unlocking the Exemptions to Accessing New York Public Records

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIL) grants citizens of New York the legal right to inspect public records. As outlined in sections 84 through 90 of the New York Public Servants Act (N. Y.), there are no limitations on the number of members of the public who can request records. But what types of records can be requested, and are there any exemptions?The exemption covers documents that lead to an unjustified invasion of a person's privacy.

This includes medical records, personal information from government personnel records, and data protected by the attorney-client privilege. In addition, victims of crime are protected from public access. If your request for records is denied, you have several options available. First, try working with the registry access manager. If the agency is relying on an exemption, ask the records access administrator to disclose the non-exempt parts of the registry and that the exempt parts be deleted or rewritten. If you can't move forward with the records access administrator and your request for records continues to be denied, you have thirty days to appeal to the agency director.

The agency has ten days to comply with your request or explain its denial in writing. If you receive a denial right now (even if the agency doesn't respond), you can file a lawsuit in the New York State court to enforce your request. In some cases, the court may grant you your attorney's fees. To access public records in New York, contact the department or agency responsible for maintaining or issuing them. Local and state government agencies typically host the best public records databases in accordance with the state's public records law. As state and local government services increase and public problems become more sophisticated and complex and, therefore, more difficult to solve, and with the resulting increase in revenues and expenses, it is up to the state and its localities to expand public responsibility whenever possible. The statute applies not only to formal or periodic meetings, but also to any meeting or meeting of the quorum of a public body for the purpose of carrying out public transactions. For more information on how to obtain legal assistance to help you evaluate the merits of a possible lawsuit against the government entity, visit Example of a FOIA request in New York for an example of a FOIA request for the state.

Rory Rabinovich
Rory Rabinovich

Hardcore beer fanatic. Avid zombie lover. Certified zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble social media scholar. Passionate pop culture buff.

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