APPEAL FROM FRANKLIN CIRCUIT COURT. HONORABLE THOMAS D. WINGATE, JUDGE. ACTION NO. 10-CI-01640.
BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Bethany Atkins Rice, Frankfort, Kentucky.
BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Timothy J. Eifler, Stephen A. Sherman, Louisville, Kentucky.
BEFORE: CLAYTON, LAMBERT, AND THOMPSON, JUDGES. ALL CONCUR.
This is an appeal from the Franklin Circuit Court's decision affirming an Attorney General's Opinion which held that the Appellee, Timothy J. Eifler, was entitled to obtain records from the Appellant, Kentucky Department of Revenue (the Department), under the Open Records Act (ORA). Based upon the following, we affirm the Franklin Circuit Court's opinion.
Eifler filed a request to inspect documents with the Department on behalf of his client, Delta Resources, Inc. (Delta). He requested " [a] list of names, addresses,
and dates of registration of all taxpayers currently registered with the [Department] for the Utility License Tax." If these records did not exist, Eifler requested, " to inspect all documents, materials, computer software/databases or other records containing the names, addresses and/or dates of registration of all taxpayers currently registered with the [Department] for the Utility License Tax."
The Department's Custodian of Records, Sarah E. Pence, sent Eifler a denial of his request in writing, stating that a record of the names, addresses and date of registration of all taxpayers did not exist and that there was no preexisting method whereby extracting such information from tax returns was possible. She also explained that the Department believed Eifler's request came within the exemption from inspection set forth in Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 61.878(1). Eifler appealed this denial to the Kentucky Attorney General (OAG).
Pursuant to KRS 61.880, the OAG is the agency authorized to review a denial of an ORA request. In this case, the OAG held that the Department should turn over the records for inspection, finding that it maintained the documents sought and that they could be produced for inspection.
After the OAG's decision, the Department appealed to the Franklin Circuit Court for judicial review. After an analysis, the circuit court affirmed the OAG's report allowing Eifler ...