September 22, 1997


In re: C. Laurie Griffith/Kentucky Labor Cabinet

Open Records Decision

This matter comes to the Attorney General on appeal from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s partial denial of an open records request by C. Laurie Griffith, Esq., Boehl Stopher & Graves, to inspect and receive copies of the Cabinet’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) investigative file relating to Ms. Griffith’s client, the Debbie Sutherland Excavating, Inc., and records relating to certain OSH discrimination complaints and files.

Margaret Goodlett Miles, Paralegal, responding on behalf of the Cabinet, informed Ms. Griffith that a portion of her request to see the entire investigative file and the discrimination files was being denied. In her response, Ms. Miles stated:

The file contains preliminary worknotes, the release of which is exempted pursuant to KRS 61.878 (1) (j), to wit: preliminary recommendations, and preliminary memoranda in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended. Also any information identifying employees contacted and/or interview statements have been removed pursuant to KRS 338.101(1)(a).

Information from the OSH discrimination files which you also requested is not releasable at this time pursuant to KRS 61.878(1)(j), as the files are not completed and thus preliminary in nature.

Ms. Miles advised that copies of 322 documents and 41 photographs would be made available as soon as payment for reproducing copies was received. In denying Ms. Griffith’s request for the files in their entirety, she explained:

Due to the fact that you specifically requested the entire file and due to the fact that the preliminary worknotes and employee information are exempt from release, this must be considered a technical refusal of a portion of your request.

In her letter of appeal, Ms. Griffith asked this office to determine whether the partial denial of her request was consistent with provisions of the Open Records Act.

It is the decision of this office that 96-ORD-66, 95-ORD-100, 93-ORD-138, and 92-90, copies of which are enclosed, and are incorporated into this decision by reference, are controlling and dispositive of this appeal. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet properly relied upon KRS 61.878(1)(j) and KRS 338.101(1)(a) in partially denying Ms. Griffith’s requests for access to documents consisting of preliminary worknotes and information identifying employees contacted by the Cabinet concerning the workplace violations and the records from the discrimination files which were preliminary in nature.

A party aggrieved by this decision may appeal it by initiating action in the appropriate circuit court pursuant to KRS 61.880(5) and KRS 61.882. Pursuant to KRS 61.880(3), the Attorney General should be notified of any action in circuit court, but should not be named as a party in that action or in any subsequent proceeding.




James M. Ringo

Assistant Attorney General

# 879

Copies distributed to:

C. Laurie Griffith

Boehl Stopher & Graves

400 West Market Street, Suite 2300

Louisville KY 40202-3354

Joe Norsworthy


Labor Cabinet

U. S. Highway 127 South

Frankfort KY 40601