By Associated Press - Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) - A central Oklahoma city did not violate an open records law in a case about attorney fees, a judge ruled.

A Venita law firm sued Claremore in 2011, arguing the city violated Oklahoma’s Records Act in refusing to give requested dashboard camera video from the arrest of a man charged with driving under the influence, The Tulsa World reported ( ). The man pleaded guilty to a reduced DUI charge in August 2011.

The firm ultimately won the case about police surveillance footage, but sued the city again, claiming Claremore officials did not meet a different open records request about how much it paid to defend itself.

Attorney Josh Lee, of the law firm now known as Ward Lee & Coats, said he filed the second lawsuit because he wanted to know how much money the city “wasted” to keep the police footage hidden. He and another lawyer made open records requests to Claremore in January and February.

Claremore city attorney Matt Ballard testified he called Lee for clarification about the request. He delivered the documents after a March hearing.

Associate District Judge Sheila Condren wrote Friday that Claremore “did provide prompt, reasonable access to its records” in response to the firm’s request about attorney fees.

Condren said, “at most, the court finds there may have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding about the production of the documents.”

Condren ruled in July that Claremore owed the law firm more than $41,000 in the dashboard footage case.


Information from: Tulsa World,

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