Saturday, March 03, 2007

It takes the smartest brightest judges of all time to determine that "closed" doesn't mean "closed." Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Gerrard rules that Natural Resources District defendant could not close off discovery of litigation strategy meetings it conducted in accordance with the Nebraska Open Meetings Law84-1408 et seq. ). State ex rel. Upper Republican NRD v. District Judges, S-06-549, 273 Neb. 148 Organization of independent irrigators sued this natural resources district and sought discovery of what its members discussed during closed sessions. The district court agreed with the independent irrigators that the records of closed sessions were not absolutely privileged even if the sessions qualified as closed under the Open Meetings Law, § 84-1410(1).RRS Neb. The Supreme Court Justice Gerrard approves of the district court and holds that the district court should review the closed sessions to determine if any parts of the meetings The old Supreme Court must have been wrong in Maresh v State 489 N.W.2d 298, 241 Neb. 496 (1992) when it said court rules, such as Discovery Rule 26 cannot trump statutes, such as the Open Meetings Law. Also the legislature is supposed to tell the court that lawyers cant get the information, such as specifying that meetings are privileged, as in the Peer Review law§ 71-7903 (Reissue 2003).

1 comment:

Steve said...

I am familiar with this open meetings case. The Court simply said that the irrigators have a right to ask questions that will help the court determine whether the closed meetings were legitimately closed. In this particular case there is ample evidence that policy was being made by a sub-committee that met secretly, and then informed the full board in closed session. There is no dispute as to the facts. It is simply a question of whether Nebraska's Open Meetings Law permits negotiations between the NRD and the DNR regarding the details of water policy to be closed to the public.

btw, word verification for comments do not show up for firefox. They do with IE