Email

Chicago Tribune Company v. Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 2014 Ill.App. (4th)

Public bodies are not obligated under FOIA to answer general questions

Administrator Contracts
Case: Chicago Tribune Company v. Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 2014 Ill.App. (4th) 130427 (Ill. App. 3-6-2014).
Date: Thursday, March 6, 2014

A newspaper submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (Department) for the number of claims made against 22 named physicians. The Department presented evidence that it did not keep such a record in the ordinary course of business and urged that it was not required to create it. The Department did not waive this argument by failing to assert it during proceedings before the Public Access Counselor. The Court, quoting from earlier decisions, found that a request to inspect or copy must reasonably identify a public record and not general data, information, or statistics. FOIA “does not compel the agency to provide answers to questions posed by the inquirer.” Here, the Department was not obligated under FOIA to answer the newspaper’s general inquiry question since this would have required the creation of a new record.