From: Jobin-Davis, Camille (DOS)
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2015 11:36 AM
Subject: RE: FOIL - "justify"
In my opinion, if someone were to make a request for an electronic copy of all deeds recorded in a
particular year, it would likely be a request that “reasonably describes” records. Assuming that the
someone were willing to pay the fee for the salary of the lowest paid employee capable of preparing the
electronic records (up front), in my opinion, the county would not be permitted to deny access;
however, the issue would be what constitutes a reasonable time frame for providing the records. Due
to the volume of records requested, and the realities of staffing (?) and workload, it may be that
assigning someone to scan deeds for an hour and a half once a week would be reasonable (guessing). If
that’s reasonable, upon receipt of payment, the agency would be responsible for responding
incrementally each week or in a lump delivery, depending on the applicant’s request, based on the
In this example there may be extenuating circumstances. For example, the county may already be in the
process of converting paper deeds to electronic, or depending on how long this process takes, the
person who is assigned may be pulled off this job sporadically for other statutorily required
work(?). Perhaps other factors would contribute to an agency’s calculation of what is a reasonable time
Recently, we’ve written a few advisory opinions on the issue of reasonable time frame for responding to
requests for electronic records, that highlight related issues. They’re available through our online FOIL
Advisory Opinion Index under “R” for “Reasonably Describe” and “Reasonable Effort”. If you haven’t
seen them, you may want to take a look.
Hope it helps!