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Holleman v. Indiana Department of Correction

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 25, 2015

Robert L. Holleman, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Indiana Department of Correction, Bruce Lemmon, as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, and Bob Bugher, as Chief Counsel for the Indiana Department of Correction, Appellees-Defendants

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Timothy W. Oakes, Judge. Cause No. 49D13-1405-PL-17608.

Robert L. Holleman, APPELLANT, Pro se, Pendleton, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, Kathy Bradley, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Darden, Senior Judge. Robb, J., and Crone, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 294

Darden, Senior Judge

Statement of the Case

[¶ 1] Robert Holleman sued the Indiana Department of Correction and its officials for failing to respond to his public records request. The Department subsequently produced documents in response to his request and moved to dismiss his complaint on grounds of mootness. The trial court dismissed the case and Holleman appeals. The Department concedes that remand is necessary for further proceedings. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

Issue

[¶ 2] Holleman raises two issues, which we consolidate and restate as: whether the trial court erred in granting the Department's motion to dismiss.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶ 3] On January 9, 2014, Holleman submitted a request for public records to the Indiana Department of Correction, directed to its Commissioner, Bruce Lemmon. The Department did not respond to Holleman's request.

[¶ 4] Next, on February 11, 2014, Holleman filed a formal complaint with the Indiana Public Access Counselor. The Counselor sent a notice to the Department, via Commissioner Lemmon and Chief Counsel Robert Bugher, requesting a response by February 24, 2014. The Department did not submit a response to the Counselor.

[¶ 5] On March 13, 2014, the Counselor issued an advisory opinion. He noted that if the Department possessed the records Holleman requested, then the Department " violated the Access to Public Records Act by not acknowledging [Holleman's] request within seven days thereby ...


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