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Mecklenburg to put some court case records online

February 2, 2015

As part of a pilot to bring greater access to court files, the Mecklenburg Clerk of Superior Court is plans to place documents from high profile cases online this month. The first two cases include a domestic violence charge against a Carolina Panthers player and a manslaughter charge against a former police officer. 

N.C. Court of Appeals orders first expedited review of a public records case

January 30, 2015

After initially declining the Times-News's request for an expedited appeal of its public records suit against the Alamance-Burlington School System, the Court of Appeals this week set a short schedule for the attorneys to file and indicated the case would be put on the first available docket.  The N.C. Supreme Court instructed the Court of Appeals to reconsider providing an expedited review last week. 

UNC project wins $50,000 award to improve transparency at General Assembly

January 29, 2015

The Capitol Hound project of UNC's Reese News Lab won a $50,000 award. Capitol Hound creates keyword searchable transcripts and email alerts of General Assembly hearings. With the grant, the service will be given to news outlets across the state free of charge to improve statehouse coverage. 

Charlotte Google event raises meetings law questions

January 29, 2015

Charlotte Observer: A majority of the Charlotte City Council attended a Google sponsored reception Wednesday that was closed to the public, raising concerns that the event violated the N.C. Open Meetings Law

Burlington newspaper asks NC Supreme Court for expedited review of appeal

January 1, 2015

The Times-News of Burlington is seeking review by the state supreme court of an order denying access to closed-session minutes of the Alamance-Burlington School System's Board of Education. The newspaper filed a lawsuit against the school in October after the board refused to provide unredacted minutes from May meetings where the performance of Superintendent Lillie Cox was discussed. Cox resigned and was given a $200,000 severance package. 

Court of Appeals affirms that settlement agreements are public records

January 1, 2015

In 2008 Carolinas Healthcare System filed a lawsuit against Wachovia, which was settled in 2012 with a confidential agreement. Attorney Gary Jackson sought a copy of the agreement under the N.C. Public Records Act, which specifically designates settlement agreements as public. CHS declined to provide it and a trial court found it was exempt because the lawsuit was initiated by CHS. On Wednesday the Court of Appeals affirmed that settlement agreements are public records regardless of who initiates the lawsuit. 

As part of records lawsuit settlement, UNC Chapel Hill identifies employees it is seeking to fire

December 31, 2014

In the wake of an exhaustive investigation into acjademic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chancellor Carol Folt said in October that nine employees would be disciplined or fired. When the university refused to identify the nine employees, in contravention of the Public Records Act and the State Personnel System Act, a coalition of 10 media outlets sued. On Wednesday, the university identified the four employees it is seeking to fire and agreed to identify the other five employees if disciplinary actions are upheld following administrative appeals. 

Asheville newspaper sues city over police videos

December 17, 2014

The Asheville Citizen-Times filed a public records lawsuit Monday against the city of Asheville over recordings made by plain-clothes police officers attending public rallies. The existence of the videos was revealed by the newspaper in September. The city has declined to release them citing the criminal intelligence exemption int the N.C. Public Records Act. 

Judge orders mediation in UNC Chapel Hill suit

December 13, 2014

Wake Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ordered UNC Chapel Hill and 10 media outlets that have sued the university to mediate their dispute over public records. Stephens told lawyers for the university he was "troubled" that the chancellor had announced the discipline or firing of nine employees without providing additional information.