Friends of Frame Park, U.A. v. City of WaukeshaAnnotate this Case
In this public records case concerning attorneys fees, a majority of the Supreme Court adopted the principle that to "prevail in whole or insubstantial part" under Wis. Stat. 19.37(2)(a) means that the party must obtain a judicially sanctioned charge in the parties' legal relationship.
In this case a records custodian voluntarily turned over a requested record. The court of appeals, which has previously employed a causal-nexus to determine the release of records was caused in some way by the litigation, recognized the limitations of a causation-based approach and considered instead whether the records were properly withheld. The Supreme Court held (1) to prevail in whole or in substantial part and thus to be entitled to attorney's fees means the party must obtain a judicially-sanctioned charge in the parties' legal relationship; and (2) even of the party that requests the records can pursue attorney's fees following release of the records at issue, an award of attorney's fees would not be appropriate in the instant case.