The MFIA Clinic represented two Maine newspapers, the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News, in consolidated cases under the Maine Freedom of Access Act (“FOAA”). The papers filed identical FOAA requests with the Maine State Police for state police officers’ disciplinary records. After the state produced records that contained unlawful redactions under several FOAA exemptions, failed to say which exemptions applied to which redactions, and explicitly referred to documents that were not produced, the Clinic filed suit on the papers’ behalf. After Clinic student Alasdair Phillips-Robins argued the case for the papers, the court ordered the State Police to remove nearly all the redactions, and also ordered it to conduct a new search. This led the State Police to produce substantial additional records that the papers used to advance police accountability in Maine.
In this case the MFIA Clinic collaborated with lawyers for the papers, Sigmund Schutz of Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau & Pachios in Portland, and Berney Kubetz and Chris Uphouse of Eaton Peabody in Bangor.