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Court Rejects Attorney Fees In Private College Police case

Otterbein University campus
Otterbein University

A divided Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a request for attorney fees by the firm that successfully argued private colleges' police departments are subject to the state's open records law.

The 4-3 decision Tuesday involved a ruling earlier this year that said the Otterbein University police department in suburban Columbus is a public office because its personnel are state-certified police officers.

That ruling followed a lawsuit filed by a student journalist against the school asking for arrest records and other information.

The court without comment rejected arguments that the school should pay $1,000 in damages to former student journalist Anna Schiffbauer, and court costs and attorney fees totaling $15,297 to the firm that represented her.

Dissenting justices said awarding monetary damages and fees encourages compliance with open records law.