The Coeur d’Alene Press has won an open records lawsuit against North Idaho College.
On Wednesday, District Judge John T. Mitchell ordered NIC to turn over several employee contracts to the newspaper, and release unredacted invoices from college legal counsel.
The Press filed the lawsuit in February, saying NIC and chief communications officer Laura Rumpler violated open records law repeatedly, by failing to fulfill records requests in their entirety, and within the timeframe spelled out in state law.
NIC argued that the contracts were exempt from public release, as “personnel records.” On Wednesday, Mitchell disagreed.
“It is quite clear to the court that the employment contracts are not exempt,” Mitchell said, according to the Press’ coverage of Wednesday’s hearing.
Mitchell also reviewed redacted invoices from NIC attorney Art Macomber, dating back to December and January. NIC released the documents to the Press with extensive redactions. Mitchell ordered NIC to re-release the invoices, removing several of the redactions, the Press reported.
Mitchell will hold a hearing on Aug. 3, the Press reported, to consider whether NIC should be ordered to pay the newspaper’s legal fees.