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First Circuit Issues Favorable Ruling for Firm Amici Clients in Access to Information Suit

In 2021, Benedict Law Group PLLC submitted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Espacios Abiertos, the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, and the Nevada Open Government Coalition in support of the case brought by the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI) against the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (FOMB) for access to government information on appeal in the First Circuit.

The brief argued, among other things, that Congress abrogated any sovereign immunity the Board enjoyed, such that CPI’s suit against FOMB could move forward.

On May 17, 2022, the First Circuit affirmed, 2-1, the District Court’s ruling on sovereign immunity and declined to exercise appellate jurisdiction over any other issue FOMB raised. The First Circuit held that Congress abrogated FOMB’s immunity from suit in federal court by creating a claim channeling provision directing all suits against FOMB that would otherwise proceed in Commonwealth court to be brought in federal court instead.

FOMB then petitioned for rehearing en banc, which was denied on June 7, 2022, following the recusal of the remaining active judges that were not part of the original panel.

The panel opinion noted that, while the Court could not consider any arguments the parties did not advance, it “appreciate[d] the thoughtful submissions from the amici.” (Slip Op. at 11 n.9.)

The decision was covered by Bloomberg, Rochelle's Daily Wire at the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bond Buyer, the Volokh Conspiracy, and Final Decisions.

The matter is Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Inc. v. Fin. Oversight & Mgmt. Bd., No. 21-1301 (1st Cir.).

Read the panel opinion here:

2022.05.17 Opinion
Download PDF • 275KB

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