Agency Settlements (Chicago Law Department)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Chicago Law Department of Chicago, IL.
Tracking # 111417
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 to 11), I hereby request the following records:

Absolutely any and all logs, reports, spreadsheets, databases, or other materials detailing all settlements or similar dispute resolutions to which this agency, or any division thereof, was a party, including, but not limited to, all conciliatory agreements related to complaints or court or legal proceedings against any representative of or office of this agency. Please include all available segregable data, including the entities involved, the date on which the initial complaint or court action was brought, the nature of the charge or complaint, the nature of the dispute resolution (i.e. in-court, out-of-court, in-agency mediation, third-party, etc.), any financial agreements associated with the settlement, and the date on which the case was closed.

Please provide all available materials from January 1, 2010 through October 31, 2017.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Beryl Lipton

From: Chicago Law Department

November 14, 2017

Beryl Lipton

MuckRock News

DEPT MR 45570

411A Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144

Via email at requests@muckrock.com

Dear Ms. Lipton,

On behalf of the City of Chicago Department of Law, I am responding to your Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request which was received in our offices on November 6, 2017. At this time, the Law Department is seeking an extension of five additional working days to respond to the request for one or more of the following reasons identified in 5 ILCS 140/3(e) of FOIA:
( ) the requested records are stored in whole or in part at other locations than the office having charge of the requested records;
( ) the request requires the collection of a substantial number of specified records;
( ) the request is couched in categorical terms and requires an extensive search for the records responsive to it;
( ) the requested records have not been located in the course of routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them;
( ) the requested records require examination and evaluation by personnel having the necessary competence and discretion to determine if they are exempt from disclosure under Section 7 of the FOIA or should be revealed only with appropriate deletions;
( ) the request for records cannot be complied with by the public body within the time limits prescribed by 5 ILCS 140/3(d) without unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the public body;

(xx) there is need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another public body or among two or more components of a public body having a substantial interest in the determination or in the subject matter of the request.

Sincerely,

Tom Skelton

FOIA Officer - Department of Law

From: Chicago Law Department

November 21, 2017

Beryl Lipton

MuckRock News

DEPT MR 45570

411A Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144

Via email at requests@muckrock.com

Dear Ms. Lipton,

On behalf of the City of Chicago Department of Law, I am responding to your Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request which was received in our offices on November 6, 2017. You requested:

Absolutely any and all logs, reports, spreadsheets, databases, or other materials detailing all settlements or similar dispute resolutions to which this agency, or any division thereof, was a party, including, but not limited to, all conciliatory agreements related to complaints or court or legal proceedings against any representative of or office of this agency. Please include all available segregable data, including the entities involved, the date on which the initial complaint or court action was brought, the nature of the charge or complaint, the nature of the dispute resolution (i.e. in-court, out-of-court, in-agency mediation, third-party, etc.), any financial agreements associated with the settlement, and the date on which the case was closed.

Please provide all available materials from January 1, 2010 through October 31, 2017

Regarding your request for spreadsheets detailing all settlements between January 1, 2010 and October 31, 2017, please note that the Law Department is not required under FOIA to produce records it maintains online. Under Section 8.5(a) of FOIA "a public body is not required to copy a public record that is published on the public body's website." The Law Department maintains spreadsheets detailing all settlements between January 1, 2008 and September 30, 2017 online at https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dol.html under the heading titled "Additional Information." If you are unable to reasonably access the records online, please re-submit your FOIA request explaining why you are unable to reasonably access the records online as detailed in Section 8.5(b) of FOIA. Otherwise, the Law Department has no obligation to copy the records you seek because the records are already published online.

To the extent that your request seeks all settlement agreements the Law Department entered into between January 1, 2010 and October 31, 2017, your request is unduly burdensome under Section 3(g) of FOIA. Section 3(g) of FOIA provides that "requests for all records falling within a category shall be complied with unless compliance with the request would be unduly burdensome for the complying public body and there is no way to narrow the request and the burden on the public body outweighs the public interest in the information." In order to respond to your request as drafted, the Law Department would have to spend hundreds of hours searching through thousands of settled cases to produce the documents you seek.

For example, in 2010 the Law Department entered into 880 settlements. Assuming it would take only 5 minutes to find and copy the settlement document in each case, it would take 73 hours to find and copy every settlement document from 2010. Additionally, most of these settlement documents are maintained in an off-site warehouse adding to the time and expense of finding the settlement documents. This is only for one year of case settlements as well. Your request asks for over 6 years of settlements. Thus, it would take hundreds of hours to respond to your request as it is currently drafted. The request is unduly burdensome under Section 3(g) of FOIA.

It is necessary that your FOIA request be narrowed and clarified. If you would like assistance in narrowing your request, please contact me, and I will assist you. Otherwise, for the reasons provided above, the Law Department is unable to respond to your FOIA request as currently drafted.

You have the right to have a denial reviewed by the Public Access Counselor (PAC) at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, 500 S. 2nd Street, Springfield, Illinois 62706, (877) 299-3642. You also have the right to seek judicial review of your denial by filing a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court.

Sincerely,

Tom Skelton

FOIA Officer - Department of Law

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