38 Endicott Street North, LLC v. New Hampshire Fire MarshallAnnotate this Case
Petitioner 38 Endicott Street North, LLC appealed a superior court order that dismissed its petition under the Right-to-Know Law and denied its request for attorney’s fees. In 2011, Petitioner sent Respondent the State Fire Marshal, head of the New Hampshire Division of Fire Safety a letter requesting to inspect all records, information, and documents related to a September 17, 2010 fire that took place on its property and the "investigation thereof." Petitioner did not receive a response, and on May 3, 2011, sent a second letter demanding a response. On May 5, 2011, the Fire Marshal replied, disclosing the Incident Initiation Report and its supplement, but withholding all other materials because the investigation was ongoing. On May 6, 2011, Petitioner filed a sought an injunction to direct the Fire Marshal to produce the undisclosed materials pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law. Petitioner also requested attorney’s fees and costs. The Fire Marshal responded that the undisclosed materials are excluded from the Right-to-Know Law under the exemption for records “compiled for law enforcement purposes.” After a hearing, the trial court ruled that the withheld records were exempt from the Right-to-Know Law, denied the petition, and also denied Petitioner’s request for attorney’s fees and costs. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the materials were compiled for law enforcement purposes and that disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings. Petitioner also argued that the trial court erred in denying its requests for an in camera review of the materials or the compilation of a Vaughn index, as well as in denying its motion for attorney’s fees and costs. Finding no error, the Supreme Court upheld the trial court's judgment.