PETITIONER Case No. 2017…..
Case code: ….
City of….. xyz
RESPONDENTS Circuit Court Judge, Br.
VERIFIED PETITION FOR EXTRAORDINARY RELIEF
IN THE NATURE OF A WRIT OF MANDAMUS
MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES, COSTS AND EXPENSES
UNDER WISCONSIN STATUTES 19.19 THRU 19.39
Pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes 19.19 thru 19.39 governing Wisconsin Public Records, Your Name (Herein referred to as PETITIONER) petitions this Court for extraordinary relief in the nature of a Writ of Mandamus, directed to Respondents City of xyz and Attorney …….. This action seeks this court to compel the City of xyz and Attorney ….. to produce requested public documents under the rules and provisions under Wisconsin Public Record Statutes §19.19 thru 19.39.
Further, this action seeks an award of attorney’s fees, costs and expenses under Wisconsin Statutes §19.19 thru 19.39
PUBLIC POLICY AND PURPOSE
Wisconsin Public Record Statutes authorizes requesters to inspect or obtain copies of “record maintained by government “authorities.
“[I]t is declared to be the public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them.
1. This is one of the strongest declarations of policy found in Wisconsin statutes
2. Wisconsin legislative policy favors the broadest practical access to government.
3. Providing citizens with information on the affairs of government is: [A]n essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of officers and employees whose responsibility it is to provide such information. To that end, ss. 19.32 to 19.37 shall be construed in every instance with a presumption of complete public access, consistent with the conduct of governmental business. The denial of public access generally is contrary to the public interest, and only in an exceptional case may access be denied.
4. Courts interpret the public records law in light of this policy declaration, to foster transparent government.
5. The purpose of the Wisconsin public records law is to shed light on the workings of government and the official acts of public officers and employees.
6. Wisconsin Public Record goals is to provide access to records that assist the public in becoming an informed electorate
7. Wisconsin Public Record statutes therefore serve a basic tenet of our democratic system by providing opportunity for public oversight of government.
Wisconsin Department of Justice further states;
Response must be provided “as soon as practicable and without delay. Wis. Stat. § 19.35(4)(a).
DOJ policy is that ten working days generally is a reasonable time for responding to a simple request for a limited number of easily identifiable records. For requests that are broader in scope or that require location, review or redaction of many documents, a reasonable time for responding may be longer. However, if a response cannot be provided within ten working days, it is DOJ’s practice to send a communication indicating that a response is being prepared.
Requests for public records should be given high priority. • Compliance at some unspecified future time is not authorized by the public records law. The records custodian has two choices: comply or deny.
Mandamus is the exclusive remedy provided by the legislature to enforce the public records law and obtain the remedies specified in Wis. Stat. § 19.37.
To obtain a writ of mandamus, the requester must establish;
The requester has a clear right to the records sought.
The authority has a legal duty to disclose the records.
Substantial damage would result if the petition for mandamus was denied.
The requester has no other adequate remedy at law.
In support of this verified petition, Petitioner alleges the following:
1. Petitioner, Your Name is a resident of Wisconsin.
2. Respondents are the CITY OF xyz and ATTORNEY…….
3. Respondents, CITY OF xyz and ATTORNEY ……… are the holder and/or custodian of the requested public records.
4. Respondents have failed to produce requested documents upon PETITIONER’S request in a timely manner as set forth by Wisconsin Statutes and DOJ guidelines.
4. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action under Wisconsin Statutes 19.19 thru 19.39., and specifically Wisconsin Statute 19.37 and its subs.
1. On or about DATE . 2017 , the PETITIONER filed a Wisconsin Public records request directly into the office of City of xyz seeking documents concerning the actions of City of xyz. (exhibit 1)
List facts of case……………..
10. A copy of the PETIONER’S contract with his counsel is attached along with his fee schedule. (exhibit 13)
ARGUMENT - General Law
The PETITIONER has demonstrated both a clear and indisputable entitlement to the writ.
Petitioner lacks an adequate alternative means to obtain the documents without court intervention.
This writ of mandamus is seeking this remedy because of the RESPONDNET’S errors, acts and omissions in regards to Wisconsin Public Record Statutes 19.19 thru 19.39
Clear Entitlement to the Writ
As the facts demonstrate, the PETITIONER has acted within the guidelines as set forth by Wisconsin Statutes 19.19 thru 10.39.
RESPONDENT’S have not complied with Wisconsin Public Records statutes and/or guidelines as established by Wisconsin Statutes and court rulings governing the rules of conduct by government and/or its officials.
There is an administrative failure on the part of the RESPONDENT’S to meet the statutory and regulatory provisions of Wis. § 19.19 thru 19.39.
The RESPONDENT’S have not raised questions or objections concerning the PETITIONERS Public Records Request.
The Respondent’s, City of xyz and Attorney ,,,,,,,,, continues to ignore the rightful claim of the PETITIONER to receive the documents and in a timely manner.
The PETITIONER is clearly entitled to adjudication as the RESPONDENT’’S duty is failing to provide the documents as governed by Wisconsin Statutes and its court rulings.
Lack of Adequate Alternative Means
The PETITIONER is deprived of any further adjudicative process by which to contest the inactivity by the RESPONDENT’S
The Petitioner has the better of the legal argument as the RESPONDENT’S has shown no statutory or regulatory authority to refuse to take the actions to fulfill the PETITIONER’S request.
It is understood that a Writ of Mandamus is a drastic remedy to be invoked only in extraordinary circumstances. The Courts and Wisconsin Statutes have noted that the use of Writs of Mandamus in connection with agency matters is necessary when government agencies and/or its agents are not in compliance with the law.
The PETITIONER has demonstrated with facts in this case that the RESPONDENT’S have failed to act, and has failed to act in a timely manner as required by Wisconsin Statutes.
This is not merely a matter of a delay of the RESPONDENT’S taking administrative action to be compliant with State Statutes; this is a matter of the Respondent’s being derelict and negligent to PETITIONERS right to acquire records, let alone in a timely manner.
This Court has the power to award attorney fees, costs and expenses to the Petitioner under Wisconsin Statutes 19.19 thru 19.39 These laws has been applied to actions before in Wisconsin Courts.
No possible compelling reason exists for the respondent’s refusal to provide the requested documents in a timely manner.
Nature of Relief Sought
This action seeks the Court to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the City of xyz and it’s agents to produce the requested documents as soon as possible and to pay the PETITIONER for his costs to produce this document and any additional costs incurred for this action.
PETITIONER further requests the court to consider punitive damages against the Respondents; Respondent’s has arbitrarily and capriciously denied or delayed response to the PETITIONER’S request for the documents. ( Wisconsin Statutes 19.37 (3) … If a court finds that an authority or legal custodian under s. 19.33 has arbitrarily and capriciously denied or delayed response to a request or charged excessive fees, the court may award punitive damages to the requester.)
The City of xyz and/or its agents has exhibited indifference to time schedules as set forth in Wisconsin Public Record laws and suggested policies as set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The City of xyz is in violation of the spirit of the law and the law itself. It is respectfully requested that this Court issue an order directed to the Respondents in favor of the PETITIONER that a writ of mandamus be issued under the seal of this Court commanding the Respondents to immediately comply with Wisconsin Statutes 19.19 thru 19.39 and produce as soon as possible the requested documents. PETIITIONER further request an award of attorney fees, costs and expenses incurred in bringing this Petition under the Wisconsin Statutes and that the Court grant such other and further relief as may be just and proper.
Respectfully submitted this the ___ day of ______,2017.
Attorney for Petitioner
State Bar #.........
Admitted to Wisconsin Bar……..
STATE OF WISCONSIN
COUNTY OF RACINE
I, the undersigned, say:
1. I am an attorney who has been duly licensed to practice law in the courts of the State of Wisconsin since _________, and am a member in good standing of the Wisconsin Bar.
2. I have read the attached Petition for Extraordinary Relief in the Nature of a Writ of Mandamus and I know its contents. The facts stated in the Petition are true to my own personal knowledge, except as to those stated upon information and belief, which I believe to be true.
3. I declare under penalty of perjury that the above is true and correct.
EXECUTED on the ____ day of ___, 2017, at…………..
Attorney at Law
Below for Public Notary use
Sworn to and subscribed before me this the following date:
Notes; Wisconsin Statute 19.37
(b) The requester may, in writing, request the district attorney of the county where the record is found, or request the attorney general, to bring an action for mandamus asking a court to order release of the record to the requester. The district attorney or attorney general may bring such an action.