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Peoria Journal Star v. City of Peoria, 2016 IL App (3d) 140838 (4-18-16).

Withholding Records Relating to a Public Body’s Adjudication of Employee Grievances and Disciplinary Cases Under exemption 7(1)(n)

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Case: Peoria Journal Star v. City of Peoria, 2016 IL App (3d) 140838 (4-18-16).
Date: Monday, April 18, 2016

A Peoria Journal Star reporter issued a FOIA to the City of Peoria for reports authored by a particular Peoria Police Department officer, but the City refused to disclose one of two responsive reports, asserting said report was exempt under Section 7(1)(n) because it was “a report of an employee grievance and served as the factual basis which initiated two internal disciplinary cases against two officers of the Peoria Police Department.” Upholding lower decisions by the Public Access Counselor and the trial court, the appellate court held that the report was not exempt under Section 7(1)(n) because the report “was created well before any adjudication took place and existed independent of any adjudication. That the report later led to disciplinary action against two officers is insufficient to make it exempt under FOIA.”