Information is the currency of our time, and access to the information you need is more important than ever. Whether you are attempting to obtain public records through local, state, or federal agencies, the process to get that information can be cumbersome and frustrating. It’s not always clear what information is available through right-to-know laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Maine’s Freedom of Access Act (FOAA). With numerous exemptions, exclusions, and miseducation, even public officials and government staff can be confused as to what they can and cannot disclose under FOIA/FOAA.

The Power of Transparency

Led by Sig Schutz, recognized by the Sun Journal as “one of Maine’s foremost authorities on the state’s Freedom of Access Act,” Preti Flaherty's Media Law attorneys have decades of experience and close familiarity on both sides of FOIA and FOAA transactions, and the proven knowledge and experience to advise on freedom of information compliance and disputes. Our team regularly assists clients with sophisticated counsel on all aspects of information exchange, including:

  • Public records requests, including responses to and denials of records requests
  • Public records/FOIA appeals, litigation, and dispute resolution
  • Compliance violations
  • Drafting and reviewing FOIA-related documents
  • Training public officials
  • Determination of fees
  • HIPAA—healthcare confidentiality
  • Data security and privacy

Our articles on access to government records have been published in the Maine Bar Journal and the Open Government Guide and our team co-authored the Open Courts Compendium: Maine and the Reporters’ Privilege Compendium, published by the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press. We are frequently invited to present on the subject of access to public information, including “Access to Public Records in the Electronic Age" and "What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings in Maine."

Advocates for Good Government

We have served as counsel in many precedent-setting public access cases in Maine, including access to transcripts of 911 calls, the right to attend jury selection in criminal cases in Maine State Court, access to “draft” settlement agreements with the State, access to dash cam police cruiser video, and access to records of closed law enforcement investigations. We also advise on access to federal records and information and litigate federal freedom of information claims, including appearing in more than a dozen freedom of information appeals decided by the Maine Supreme Court:

  • Bond v. Town of Windham, 2019 Mem-19-11
  • Pinkham v. Department of Transp., 2016 ME 74, 139 A. 3d 904
  • Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios, LLP v. State Tax Assessor, 2014 ME 6, 86 A.3d 30
  • MaineToday Media, Inc. v. State of Maine, 2013 ME 100, 41 Media L. Rep. 2673
  • State of Maine v. Strong (In re. MaineToday Media, Inc.), 2013 ME 12, 59 A.3d 499, 41 Media L.Rep. 1237
  • MacImage of Me., LLC v. Androscoggin Cty., 2012 ME 44, 40 A.3d 975
  • Anastos v. Town of Brunswick, 2011 ME 41, 15 A.3d 1279
  • Moore v. Abbott, 2008 ME 100, 952 A.2d 980
  • Blethen Maine Newspapers v. Portland School Cmte, 2008 ME 69, 947 A.2d 479, 36 Media.L.Rep. 1652
  • Citizens Communications Co. v. Attorney General, 2007 ME 114, 931 A.2d 503
  • Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc. v. State of Maine, 2005 ME 56, 871 A.2d 523, 33 Media L.Rep 1616
  • Doe v. Department of Mental Health, 1997 ME 105, 699 A. 2d 422
  • Guy Gannett Pub v. University of Maine, 555 A. 2d 470 (1989)
  • Guy Gannett Pub v. Dept. of Public Safety, 555 A. 2d 474 (1989)
  • Moffett v. City of Portland, 400 A. 2d 340 (1979)

Our team provides effective and timely counsel. Our reputation as the premiere media law firm in Maine extends far beyond the borders of the state, bolstering our national presence, and making Preti Flaherty where people turn to no matter how they are engaging with public information.

Firm Highlights


Maine Law Amended to Require More Details When Public Employees Disciplined

Governor Mills recently signed a bill amending the public disclosure requirements for public employees who have been disciplined. Although widely reported as applying to police misconduct, the law applies to all government employees. The...


Municipal Update: Maine Legislature Acts to Clarify Sales of Tax-Acquired Properties

Early this week, in response to the  United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in  Tyler v. Hennepin County, Minnesota  (598 U.S. (2023)) , the Maine Legislature passed emergency legislation establishing a new process for...


2023 Maine Employment Law Summit

For nearly 30 years, Preti Flaherty's Employment Law team has provided Maine employers with practical guidance and best practices at our annual Employment Law Summit. Join us  Thursday, October 5  for the 2023 Employment...

Press Coverage

Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting Wins Public Records Dispute with York County Jail


How to navigate the legal side of nondisclosure agreements

Preti Flaherty attorney Kristy Abraham has authored an article for  MaineBiz  on navigating the legal side of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), outlining six questions for organizations to review before entering into a NDA.


Preti Flaherty Litigation Practice Group Adds Four New Attorneys

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce the addition of four experienced Associates to the firm’s Litigation Practice Group: Stephen Garvey, Michael Hanify, Hanna May, and Tiffany Ottenga. Stephen Garvey is a graduate of Boston...

Press Coverage

Maine Media Organizations Oppose Foreign Electioneering Ban

Question 2 on Maine’s November ballot asserts that corporations owned or controlled by foreign governments do not have the same rights to political speech as companies here in the U.S. and that foreign governments should be prohibited...


Schutz and Harriman Author Article for MLRC on Mill's Veto of Constitutionally Fraught Legislation

In an article for the Media Law Resource Center's July 2023 Media Law Letter,  Preti Flaherty attorneys Sig Schutz and Alex Harriman explore Gov. Janet Mills' recent veto of L.D. 1610, “An Act to Prohibit Campaign Spending...


Jeffrey Talbert Named to American College of Environmental Lawyers

Jeffrey Talbert, Chair of Preti Flaherty’s Environmental Law Group, has been invited to become a Fellow in the distinguished American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL). Membership in the premiere association of environmental lawyers is by...


Matt Warner Named to Cannabis Law Journal Global Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers 2023

Preti Flaherty attorney and Cannabis Business Group member Matt Warner has been named to the list of Global Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers for 2023-2024. A joint publication of  Cannabis Law Report and  Cannabis Law...