- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - An association of campus retail stores has sued Purdue University over information that was redacted in a public records request about the school’s partnership with Amazon.com Inc.

The online retailer opened a brick-and-mortar location on Purdue’s campus earlier this year, allowing students to pick up and drop off orders. The National Association of College Stores had requested a copy of the agreement between Purdue and Amazon, but multiple pages were redacted.

The Journal and Courier (https://indy.st/1bxFWit ) reports Purdue said the redacted pages are trade secrets under Indiana public records law. The association says in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that the information is public record and must be released.

The lawsuit says the trade association got similar information regarding an agreement between Amazon and the University of California, Davis.

Before the suit was filed, the association made a formal complaint to Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt. He said in a November advisory opinion that Purdue didn’t violate public records laws in redacting perceived trade secrets.

But Britt said that he “cannot state conclusively if the redacted information is actually a trade secret.” That determination “would be made by a trier of fact,” he said.

Brian Schneider, who submitted the complaint to Britt, said he was surprised a redacted copy was used for Britt’s opinion. Schneider said the lawsuit isn’t meant to be confrontational.

“This is really about getting as much information as we can about an important arrangement for the industry and for students, to understand the most they can about it,” Schneider said.

Steve Schultz, legal counsel for Purdue, told the newspaper that the school would be violating state law if it divulged trade secrets.

“We have not yet seen the complaint and, in general, do not comment on pending litigation,” Schultz wrote. “That being said, our contract with Amazon explicitly states that the contract contains information Amazon considers to be trade secret.”


Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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