Texas Bar suing Abbott over public information ruling

Jessica M. Karmasek Jul. 17, 2012, 1:30pm


AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - The State Bar of Texas is reportedly suing Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott over a ruling issued by Abbott's office last month.

According to Courthouse News Service, the Bar filed its lawsuit in Travis County Court last week.

The suit stems from a June 28 letter ruling in which Abbott ordered the Bar to turn over copies of bank statements and checks from an account that reimbursed attorneys for overpaid dues, as requested by a "Texas Lawyer" magazine reporter.

The Bar contends it shouldn't have to release the information that Angela Morris requested under the state's Public Information Act, or TPIA.

Morris requested records from the Attorney General's Office back in April. At the time, the Bar objected to the release of some of the information.

"Although the decision indicated that much of the requested information could be withheld, the decision required the release of bank statements and copies of checks for the account at issue," the Bar's complaint states, according to Courthouse News.

"The decision did so on the basis that such information can never, as a matter of law, fall within the law enforcement exemption. The State Bar seeks relief from that aspect of the decision."

According to the Bar's suit, it discovered questionable checks from the account and immediately notified the authorities.

"The request specifically seeks information that is subject to an ongoing criminal investigation, information the disclosure of which would clearly interfere with the ability of law enforcement officers and prosecutors to investigate the possible misappropriation of funds," the complaint states.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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