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Supreme Court rules in FOI lawsuit

by NWA Democrat-Gazette | November 7, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.
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BENTONVILLE -- The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a judge's decision requiring Bentonville District Court Clerk Jennifer Jones to release court records under the state's Freedom of Information law.

The court released its opinion Thursday in the lawsuit the National Association of Professional Background Screeners filed in 2018 against Jones.

The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County.

The lawsuit accused Jones of using her official position to thwart the background check process the organization's members rely on each day.

Jones requires any person seeking individual court records to pay $5,000, complete a compiled records license agreement and obtain a compiled records license from the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claimed requests for court records by association members are governed by the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza agreed with the association.

The state Supreme Court upheld Piazza's ruling.

The records requester in the lawsuit was Courthouse Concepts Inc. of Fayetteville, a background-screening company providing background checks for employers, landlords and volunteer groups.

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