An Illinois Appellate Court recently ruled in favor of a public body in a FOIA challenge in Lyberger v. Cannon.

In March 2020, a person submitted a FOIA request to a county board and county coroner seeking financial records regarding the county coroner’s office. Because of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the county board responded to the request in April 2020 by disclosing all responsive non-exempt records in its possession. The county coroner’s office reviewed the responsive records already provided by the county board to the requestor and confirmed that the coroner’s office did not possess any addition responsive records, so did not provide any additional records to the requestor.

The requestor then filed a lawsuit alleging that the coroner’s office failed to respond to his request in violation of FOIA. The circuit court dismissed the case because the requestor was not entitled to a separate response from the coroner’s office when the requestor had already received the responsive records from the county. The Appellate Court agreed with the circuit court, finding that because the requestor’s FOIA request was already fulfilled, and an affidavit from the coroner’s office stated that the coroner’s office did not possess additional records, the requestor’s FOIA challenge was properly dismissed as moot.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink