2020 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 30 - Public Records
Chapter 4 - Freedom Of Information Act
Section 30-4-110. Hearings regarding disclosure; appropriate relief; civil fine for violation.

Universal Citation: SC Code § 30-4-110 (2020)

(A) A public body may file a request for hearing with the circuit court to seek relief from unduly burdensome, overly broad, vague, repetitive, or otherwise improper requests, or where it has received a request but it is unable to make a good faith determination as to whether the information is exempt from disclosure.

(B) If a request for disclosure may result in the release of records or information exempt from disclosure under Section 30-4-40(a)(1), (2), (4), (5), (9), (14), (15), or (19), a person or entity with a specific interest in the underlying records or information shall have the right to request a hearing with the court or to intervene in an action previously filed.

(C) If a person or entity seeking relief under this section prevails, the court may order:

(1) equitable relief as he considers appropriate;

(2) actual or compensatory damages; or

(3) reasonable attorney's fees and other costs of litigation specific to the request, unless there is a finding of good faith. The finding of good faith is a bar to the award of attorney's fees and costs.

(D) If a court determines that records are not subject to disclosure, the determination constitutes a finding of good faith on the part of the public body or public official, and acts as a complete bar against the award of attorney's fees or other costs to the prevailing party should the court's determination be reversed on appeal.

(E) If the person or entity prevails in part, he may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees or other costs of litigation specific to the request, or an appropriate portion thereof, unless otherwise barred.

(F) If the court finds that the public body has arbitrarily and capriciously violated the provisions of this chapter by refusal or delay in disclosing or providing copies of a public record, it may, in addition to actual or compensatory damages or equitable relief, impose a civil fine of five hundred dollars.

HISTORY: 1978 Act No. 593, Section 12; 2017 Act No. 67 (H.3352), Section 5, eff May 19, 2017.

Effect of Amendment

2017 Act No. 67, Section 5, rewrote the section, removing criminal penalties, and providing rights and remedies of public bodies from whom requests are made and persons with specific interests in exempt information for which disclosure is sought.

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