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Posted on: August 1, 2019

City Settles Public Records Lawsuit

The City of DuPont has settled a public records lawsuit. In September 2016, Mr. David Bungert put in a public records request for City phone records and text messages. Staff worked with the requestor to fulfill his public records request, going over the process, what records the City could provide, and asking for clarification. The City fulfilled his public records request in good faith.

In November 2017, he filed a lawsuit against the City alleging his request wasn’t adequately fulfilled. Mr. Bungert’s lawsuit sought hundreds of thousands of dollars of City funds in this matter. The City believes that it fulfilled his request in good faith and admits no wrongdoing in settling this case. The City and Mr. Bungert reached a mutually satisfactory settlement agreement for substantially less than Mr. Bungert sought.

As part of the settlement agreement, Mr. Bungert has withdrawn two other pending public record requests. This does not preclude him making new record requests

Had the City pursued options other than settling, it would have been a significant financial burden on taxpayers, involved lengthy court proceedings, and diverted staff time from their other duties. The settlement avoids the risk of additional liability, which includes payment of Bungert’s attorney’s fees. The City has a fiduciary responsibility to its citizens to resolve such matters in the least expensive fashion possible.

The City has reserve funds set aside to pay for contingencies of this nature. The settling of this lawsuit, as with any lawsuit, will not result in any increases in City taxes or fees.

The City is committed to transparency and serving our citizens. The City spent significant resources responding to Mr. Bungert’s records requests.  In this case, the City searched every city cell phone for responsive text messages and has taken steps to ensure that future records requests are handled efficiently.

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