Q&A: Charges for public records


From The News and Tribune (Jeffersonville):

Q: I have a question related to a Department of Child Services case we’ve asked you about before. We requested hundreds of pages of documents from DCS regarding Alexis Arensman, a 3-year-old who was killed in Clarksville. We split the cost of those documents with WHAS-TV, which had requested the same information. I think the charge was about $50 each. Those documents were sent to a local county court, redacted, and then given to us.

Now we have a bill from a local printing company for $187.25 for more than 1,700 pages. The printing company – who we have a standing account with – says the county court had the documents printed there and then billed to us.

It is my understanding that we should not be “double charged” for these documents. Is this correct?

A: You are correct. There’s no reason that you should be billed for copies of public records by both the court and the vendor regarding costs for the same records.

Check with the court to see what the $50 charge covered. It could be a situation where the courts charged for A and the vendor for B.

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