The Georgia Supreme Court on September 12, 2011 issued an opinion in City of Statesboro v. Dabbs, Case No. S11A0760, holding that a plaintiff does not have to give a city prior written notice of the plaintiff's intent to bring suit for a violation of the Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. Section 50-14-1, et seq. The Court also upheld an award of attorneys' fees and expenses to the plaintiff for the costs of bringing suit. The Court held that the ante litem notice provisions barring suit against the government only applied to suits for injuries to damages or property. Accordingly, a plaintiff bringing suit to enforce the Open Records Act need not file a demand prior to suit giving the city an opportunity to adjust a claim for failure to provide public records.
The Open Records Act in Georgia requires cities and counties to make all of their records open to the general public. Under the Act, a government has three (3) days withing which to respond in writing to a demand to inspect and copy public records. This law helps to ensure that the business of government is open to all members of the public. Associations and private organizations are not generally subject to the Act.
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