Archive: January 29, 2010

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Personal Emails Retained by Public School’s Email System Not Subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act

Personal Emails Retained by Public School’s Email System Not Subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act

Howell Educ. Assoc. MEA/NEA v. Howell Board of Educ., 2010 WL 290515 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 26, 2010)

In this “reverse” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case, the trial court held that personal emails generated by and stored on a public school’s email system were public records subject to FOIA.  Upon plaintiffs’ appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court and held that such emails were not public records and thus not subject to FOIA.  Moreover, the appellate court concluded that violation of an acceptable use policy barring personal use of an email system – “at least one that does not expressly provide that emails are subject to FOIA” – does not render personal emails subject to FOIA.

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