Georgia attorney general urges high court to reverse public hospital records closure

Saying “open government is essential to a free, open and democratic society,” state Attorney General Chris Carr urged the Georgia Supreme Court to reverse a 2016 Georgia Court of Appeals decision that allowed closure of records from privately administered public hospitals.

The attorney general’s opinion had been requested by the Court in a case that pits Atlanta’s Northside Hospital against government transparency advocates, including the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. After hearing oral argument from the parties in mid-April, the Court asked Carr to weigh in.

In a brief, filed with the Court in late May, Carr argued that under the Georgia Open Records Act, “a private person or entity has an implied contractual obligation to produce any non-exempt record that it prepared, maintained or received in the performance of any service or function ‘for or on behalf of’ an agency.” The Court of Appeals decision that Carr wants reversed adopted a more restrictive test.

Read a short history of the case and check out these media reports of Carr’s opinion: