Ada County lawsuit: We sued. Now we wait.

By Melissa Davlin

On Nov. 6, the Idaho Press Club appeared in court for a second time to defend its challenge against Ada County for its unlawful public records practices, this time focusing on Ada County’s motion to dismiss based on standing. At the hearing, 4th District Judge Deborah Bail announced in the courtroom she will soon make a ruling on both standing and the merits of the case.

In September, the Idaho Press Club filed the request for declaratory judgment after the county’s repeated violations of public records law. The lawsuit stems from four separate violations in response to Idaho Press Club members’ requests, and we have asked via our attorneys for the judge to turn over improperly denied or redacted records, and order the county to change the way it handles future record requests.

In response, the county claimed the Press Club does not have standing in three of the four complaints, as those requests were made by reporters on behalf of their news outlets. The Press Club’s attorneys, Deborah Ferguson and Craig Durham, argued that we do, in fact, have associational standing, and there is a long history of associations suing on behalf of their members. In oral arguments, Ferguson also touched on the merits of the case and the importance of government transparency.

We are optimistic Bail will rule in our favor, and we’ll send out an update when we have a verdict.

In the meantime, we will continue to fight for transparency both in Ada County and around the state.

Melissa Davlin is the host of Idaho Reports and a producer for Idaho Public Television; she is the vice president of the Idaho Press Club board and the chair of the club’s 1st Amendment Committee