Private Emails Lawsuit:  Oral Argument Scheduled

Adkisson v. Abbott, a case affecting the private email accounts of city officials, is making its way through the courts.  The essential issues in the case are: (1) whether a county commissioner’s personal emails sent and received on his private account are public information when they relate to public business; and (2) if so, does the county even have “access” to them.  The decision will affect city officials the same as it does county officials.

The first issue is relevant in the case only because of the date when it was filed.  New legislation, S.B. 1368 – effective now – may moot that argument for future cases as that bill clarifies that any emails discussing public business are open records.  The second issue, whether a governmental entity can force an elected official to turn over private emails and the possible consequences for not doing so, remains of interest to all.

 City officials have been grappling with the attorney general’s interpretation of the Act for well over a decade.  Oral argument is set for 1:30 p.m. on October 9, 2013, in the Austin Court of Appeals.

 

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.

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