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

Preti Flaherty 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
  • 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

Publication

The Latest from OSHA on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 at Work

On the tails of updated guidance from other agencies, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") released new pandemic-related guidance last month. This guidance was issued on June 10, 2021...

News

Preti Flaherty Attorneys Sig Schutz and Alex Harriman Assist with Amicus Brief in Defense of Maine's Anti-SLAPP Law

Serving as counsel for The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) and 14 other news media organizations, Preti Flaherty attorneys Sigmund Schutz and Alexandra Harriman filed with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court a...

News

Fifteen Preti Flaherty Attorneys Selected as Chambers USA Leaders in Their Field

Fifteen Preti Flaherty attorneys and five practice groups have been selected for inclusion in the 2021 Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business , the highly regarded directory of leading attorneys and...

News

Preti Flaherty Welcomes Attorneys Angelica Li and Hannah M. Oakes to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce the arrival of two new attorneys to our Boston, Massachusetts, office: Angelica Li and Hannah M. Oakes. Angelica joins the firm as an Associate in our Environmental Practice...

Publication

How to Avoid Misclassifying Your Employees Under the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act

What criteria are necessary to classify someone as an independent contractor and how can employers avoid misclassification and the repercussions that come with it? In this article, Preti Flaherty attorney and Mainebiz guest columnist John...

Publication

Legislative Alert: Maine Legislature Adjourns!

The First Special Session of the 130 th Legislature finally adjourned on Monday night, July 19 th . As many of you may remember, the First Regular Session ended in March 30th when the...

News

Maine Justice Foundation Makes Inaugural Grants to Six Maine Groups Working for Racial Justice and Equity

The Maine Justice Foundation has made inaugural grants from its Racial Justice Fund to six Maine groups. The goal of the Fund is to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color statewide to forge...

News

Benchmark Litigation Names Preti Flaherty 2021 “Maine Firm of the Year”

Benchmark Litigation has named Preti Flaherty as 2021 Litigation Firm of the Year in the State of Maine. The Benchmark Awards honor distinguished litigators and law firms in all 50 states and 10 practice...

Publication

Maine’s Exemption Laws Are Changing

In March of this year, Representative Denise Tepler (D. Topsham) introduced “An Act To Increase the Value of Property Exempt from Attachment and Execution,” LD 737, which sought to dramatically change Maine’s exemption scheme. ...

Publication

Escalation Clause: An escape from the price-spike trap

Anyone in real estate development would have to be living under a rock not to know about skyrocketing lumber and material prices in the “post”-pandemic world. Pre-pandemic, the average cost for 1,000 board feet...