Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chancellor will study TNInvestco litigation before ruling

Following about two hours of oral arguments by counsel to the parties this afternoon, Davidson County Chancery Court Chancellor Russell Perkins said he would issue his opinion in the Coleman v. Farr-Kisber TNInvestco public-records access lawsuit in about a week, targeting February 23. Although no new major themes seemed to arise during the hearing and Chancellor Perkins acknowledged the need for expedited handling of access requests, the judge said the weighty issues embedded in the case call for ample consideration. Among other things, points of interrelated state and federal laws and common law were raised. At one point in his limited give and take with lawyers, Chancellor Perkins noted the fact that Attorney General Robert Cooper has weighed-in with an affirmation of the need for State confidentiality for certain TNInvestco information. Such an affirmation is required by law. Franklin-based VC Larry Coleman demands access to TNInvestco documents, arguing that disclosure of scoring forms and other data -- with some sensitive information redacted, as necessary -- would serve to illuminate the process of picking TNInvestco winners sufficiently to determine whether or not the commissioners followed state law in executing the program. Much of the discussion today centered around whether TNInvestco scoring matrices, once redacted, would still be confidential tax documents; and, whether by mentioning their use of the matrices in selecting TNInvestco winners the commissioners had somehow waived any privileges they might enjoy related to non-release of the scoring documents. Today's hearing was in Metro Nashville's historic courthouse (pictured above). Our preliminary report on this, earlier today.

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