Ohio Supreme Court denies fee-seeker dough

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Following the lead of state lawmakers, the Ohio Supreme Court has forbidden the collection of damages for illegal destruction of public records when money, rather than access to records, is the main motivation in filing lawsuits.

A party is not “aggrieved” and entitled to damages when his or her objective is not to obtain records but to seek the cash penalties accompanying the destruction of public records, the justices ruled in an opinion released today.

The court’s ruling involves a case from New Philadelphia, where Timothy Rhodes filed a lawsuit seeking nearly $5 million in damages over the illegal destruction of old tape recordings of police dispatch calls between 1975 and 1995.

A jury refused to give Rhodes any money, finding he was not aggrieved because his primary interest was money, not gaining access to records. He also had sought old police and 911 tape recordings from other communities.

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