Description: Action to compel the Vermont attorney general to respond to request for documents related to common interest agreement between states.
Energy & Environmental Legal Institute v. Attorney General of Vermont
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/27/2017 Decision Download Attorney general's motion for summary judgment denied and attorney general ordered to deliver responsive documents. Vermont Court Ordered Attorney General to Produce Some Documents Related to Climate Change Coalition Common Interest Agreement. A Vermont state court ordered the Vermont attorney general to deliver documents to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (EELI) in response to EELI’s request under the Public Records Act for certain documents related to the Climate Change Coalition Common Interest Agreement (Agreement), which the attorney general had entered into with the attorneys general of several other states. EELI limited the scope of documents it sought to documents reflecting requests by parties to the Agreement to share records and parties’ responses to such requests. The court said the Public Records Act’s professional ethics confidentiality exemption did not cover all attorney general records, “particularly those of an administrative or operational nature.” The court also declined to allow the attorney general to withhold documents from disclosure based on privilege grounded in a “common interest doctrine.” The court said that even if such a privilege existed, it would not apply to the documents sought by EELI, which were not attorney work product or attorney-client communications but “documents related to administrative implementation of the Common Interest Agreement, which is itself a public document.” 01/05/2017 Opposition Download Opposition filed by plaintiffs to defendants' motion for summary judgment. 09/15/1016 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Group Sought Vermont Attorney General Records Related to Identities of Outside Parties Participating in States’ Climate Change Investigations. Energy & Environmental Legal Institute filed a complaint in Vermont Superior Court under the Vermont Public Records Law seeking to compel disclosure of documents it had requested from the Attorney General of Vermont related to an allegedly invalid common interest agreement with other states. The agreement related to climate change-related investigations of fossil fuel companies. E&E Legal sought communications and other documents discussing states’ requests to share records with outside parties. E&E Legal contended that the attorney general had improperly withheld the documents based on attorney-client privilege and the attorney work product doctrine.