Strangely enough, I just had this discussion with a newspaper editor who has a similar lawsuit against a B10 school’s BoR to get information from a closed door meeting. I thought they made sense to share in light of the recent lawsuit against the UM. A few points to consider in regards to this story:
First, it is typical of a newspaper to initiate such lawsuits since they want information for a particular story they are writing. It is unusual for an individual to initiate this type of lawsuit unless there is an existing dispute or other litigation that is dependent on gaining access to the information from the meeting.
Second, it is “illegal” for the BoR to hold closed door meetings without minutes available to the public. Only illegal that a judge may force them to make the data public, not that anyone goes to jail. However, there are certain procedures for meeting classification, use of legal counsel, session breaks and adjournment techniques that gives the BoR some loopholes to work through to have private sessions which leads me to point 3.
Third, a winner in this lawsuit would get access to the information and reimbursement for attorney fees. However, these cases can last months (my contact mentioned legal fees had exceeded $40k for one case) and the reason a singular person may not pursue this for the “freedom of information”. Also, it is possible a judge may not rule in your favor due to opinion on if the procedures where properly followed and you are simply out the money with no access to the meeting minutes. Again, if I have other litigation pending, maybe I take the chance. If not, I would be an idiot since, even if I believe I am 100% right, I risk that a judge does not see my side of the case. I am also either representing myself or have a lawyer doing some pro-bono work since I would not want to bankroll this.
Having just heard a significant amount of information on this type of lawsuit from my newspaper editor contact, I am curious to understand the real motivations here. I struggle with the idea that a random person who reportedly loves the program and is only motivated by that he “…hopes and prays the university officials follow the rules…”. Dunno, seems strange to me, but it also made a nice story in the F***p who would seem to benefit the most from this lawsuit. Don’t know why they would not be the one to initiate it.