Multimedia v. FSU Board of Trustees


08/20/09 – 08/21/09

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"An open-government lawsuit to force release of documents in Florida State University's athletic-sanctions appeal will get a day-long hearing in August to settle what lawyers called a groundbreaking case.

The Tallahassee Democrat, Gannett Co. Inc's Florida newspapers and television stations and 17 other papers and stations filed suit against FSU, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and a law firm that hosted a confidential viewing of documents. Judge John Cooper set an Aug. 5 date for a final hearing to settle the public-records case.

After the lawsuit was filed, the NCAA allowed FSU to transcribe the appeal and provide a certified copy to reporters. Rachel Fugate, an attorney for the media outlets, said an amended lawsuit filed July 2 seeks further records as well as release of the original documents -- not transcriptions -- as well as recovery of attorney fees if the lawsuit succeeds.

Peter Antonacci, representing law firm GrayRobinson, said the issues involved in the case are unique and cover new ground for the state's Sunshine Laws, in part because of technology that presents "an electronic twist" to public records. Initially, the NCAA allowed FSU officials to view a response to the university's appeal of sanctions in an academic-cheating scandal only on a single computer that prevented printing or downloading."


The court found that the June 2 response and hearing transcripts were public record and not exempt from disclosure.


Recording Disclaimer: This proceeding was recorded in full.

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