DOCCS Ordered to Pay Jalil’s Attorney’s Fees and Litigation Costs
BOTTOM V. FISHER
On June 19, 2015, the Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department in the State of New York, ordered the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to pay Jalil Muntaqim’s attorney’s fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) case his attorney, Michael Kuzma, brought in January of 2013.
Jalil had been struggling with DOCCS since May of 2012 to secure the release of any and all communications sent to DOCCS by individuals or organizations opposing his parole bid. As a result of the lawsuit, DOCCS relented and released the vast majority of documents Jalil sought access to. Although the court allowed DOCCS to withhold portions of a May 16, 2012 letter from the New York County District Attorney’s Office and the names of police organizations opposing Jalil’s bid for parole, it found that DOCCS had no reasonable basis for its blanket denial of Jalil’s FOIL request.
This case is a major victory for Jalil and other political prisoner’s seeking access to records under FOIL from recalcitrant state and local agencies. A link to the Bottom v. Fischer decision may be found at:http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/ad4/clerk/decisions/2015/06-19-15/PDF/0547.pdf