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Frederick v. City of Falls City

Supreme Court of Nebraska

January 16, 2015

DAVID LEON FREDERICK, APPELLEE, CROSS-APPELLEE, AND CROSS-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF FALLS CITY, A CITY AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE OF NEBRASKA, APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT, AND FALLS CITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH ENTERPRISE, INC., APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE

Page 570

Appeal from the District Court for Richardson County: Daniel E. Bryan, Jr., Judge.

Vacated and reversed, and remanded with directions.

Jerald L. Rauterkus and Bonnie M. Boryca, of Erickson & Sederstrom, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

Michael R. Dunn, of Halbert, Dunn & Halbert, L.L.C., for appellee City of Falls City.

Stephen D. Mossman, J.L. Spray, and Joshua E. Dethlefsen, of Mattson, Ricketts, Davies, Stewart & Calkins, for appellee David Leon Frederick.

David J.A. Bargen, of Rembolt Ludtke, L.L.P., for amicus curiae League of Nebraska Municipalities.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 571

[289 Neb. 865] Stephan, J.

The issue presented in this appeal is whether certain documents in the possession of a private corporation which has an ongoing contractual relationship with a city are " public records" within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § § 84-712 (Cum. Supp. 2012) and 84-712.01 (Reissue 2014). Falls City Economic Development and Growth Enterprise, Inc. (EDGE), a Nebraska nonprofit corporation, provides economic development services to the City of Falls City, Nebraska, and other entities. A Nebraska citizen asked EDGE to produce documents relating to a specific economic development project, and EDGE denied the request on the ground that the requested documents were not public records as defined by § 84-712.01(1). The citizen then brought this action for a writ of mandamus pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-712.03 (Reissue 2008) to compel production of the requested documents. Except for certain documents which it determined to be privileged, the district court granted the writ. EDGE appealed, and Falls City cross-appealed, aligning itself with EDGE. The citizen also cross-appealed, contending the district court erred in not requiring production of all of the requested documents. We vacate and reverse the writ of mandamus and the order awarding attorney fees, and remand the cause with directions to dismiss.

[289 Neb. 866] I. BACKGROUND

1. Parties

David Leon Frederick is a Nebraska citizen and a resident of Richardson County, Nebraska. EDGE is a mutual benefit corporation incorporated under the Nebraska Nonprofit Corporation Act[1] ...


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