In a victory at trial for its client, The Dallas Morning News, Jackson Walker attorneys obtained a declaration that a North Texas agency was subject to the Texas Public Information Act. Judge Eric Moyé of the 14th District Court entered final judgment on a counterclaim by The News that the agency must answer an open records request by the newspaper about its certification of companies as eligible for minority set–aside programs involving millions of dollars in contract awards by local governments.
In a series of articles published on March 15, 2014, The News details the legal controversy as well as the results of its lengthy investigation into the agency’s practices.
The dispute began in 2012, when The News requested information from the North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency (NCTRCA) under the Texas Public Information Act. The NCTRCA denied The News‘ request and filed suit for declaratory judgment, asserting that it was not a governmental agency and was therefore not required to comply with the requirements of the Act.
After a one–day bench trial, the court ruled in favor of The News, declaring that the NCTRCA is, in fact, a governmental body, and is therefore subject to the Texas Public Information Act. The court further ordered the NCTRCA to release all information and documents requested by The News in its original open records request and awarded attorneys’ fees of $77,392 to The News.
The News was represented by Jackson Walker partner Paul Watler and former associate Ryan Pittman.
Jackson Walker’s Media Law practice has more than 100 years of experience providing service to media clients in the full spectrum of legal matters, including not only litigation and pre–publication concerns, but transactional, employment, entertainment, intellectual property, advertising, and other related issues.