Q&A: Attorney invoices redacted


From the Evansville Courier & Press:

Q: We are trying to learn how much our local municipalities spend on attorneys. It’s looking like at least some of them want to give us invoices that are redacted – the cost is there but not the service provided. Does information on an invoice, such as an attorney talked to a city official about a specific case, fall under the attorney-client exemption? 

A: A bill to the city is not part of the work product of an attorney that can be kept confidential under the Access to Public Records Act. It’s not created in anticipation of litigation nor does it include the conclusions or thoughts of the attorney on a case – it’s a bill.

There is a legitimate argument that can be made as to redacting a portion of the invoice, if that information could compromise the preparation of a lawsuit.

I’m not saying there should be a blanket redaction of invoices that prevent one from knowing what case was involved or what service the city received under that invoice. The invoice no doubt should be available for inspection and copying.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.