Fort Smith Chapter of TIGG
Joey McCutchen

Contact: Joey McCutchen
McCutchen Law Firm

The list of FOIA cases filed includes the following:

•  March 29, 2022: Mike Masterson, Student abuse

•  Jan. 23, 2022: Mike Masterson, Suit seeks data   

•  December 9: Yahoo News: Fort Smith lawyer accuses board of directors of casting secret votes  •  Times Record 
•  December 12, 2021, TB&P:  Riff Raff: Private votes on the public's business  
•  December 14, 2021: MIKE MASTERSON: Fighting for FOIA 
•  December 17, 2021, Times Record: Did Fort Smith officials have a secret meeting? Judge says no 
•  December 19, 2021, Democrat Gazette:  Ruling: City board didn't violate FOIA  
•  December 21, 2021, Talk Business & Politics:  Feb. 8 Fort Smith sales tax election cancelled 
•  December 27, 2021, Democrat-Gazette:  'Bandy' it in public 
•  Feb 23, 2022, TB&P:  Fort Smith Board approves vote on tax extensions with 8-year terms 
•  Feb 23, 2022, Fort Smith Times Record:  Board of directors votes to send sales tax extensions on to voters  
•  Feb 24, 2022, Democrat-Gazette: Fort Smith directors shorten proposed sales tax extension time 
•  Feb 28, 2022, TB&P, Riff Raff: A welcome pivot 
•  March 1, 2022, Talk Business & Politics: Fort Smith board takes partial action on sales tax advisory committee 
•  March 9, 2022, Talk Business & Politics:  Plan for Fort Smith sales tax advisory committee moves forward 

•  Nov 1, 2021:  City of Centerton alleged FOIA violaton:  Press release  |  Complaint 
•  Nov 5, Tracy M. Neal, Democrat-Gazette:  Centerton man suing city over documents request 

•  Oct 27, 2021: Press Release regarding FOIA complaint against the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library Board  |  Complaint  
•  Oct 28: Jonesboro Sun - Former member sues library board 
•  Oct 28: Family Council 
•  Nov 5, Jonesboro Sun - Board admits 'inadvertent' failure to notify public 
•  Nov 10,  Agreement reached in library/FOIA case  |  Agreed Order  
•  December 10, 2021, Jonesboro Sun:  Library hit with another FOIA lawsuit  
•  December 11, 2021,  Second FOIA lawsuit adds more damage to library's credibility 
• News7:  Board completes search for new library director 
• December 19, 2021, Democrat Gazette:  Craighead County library system admits to second violation of Arkansas Freedom of Information Act 
• December 20, 2021, Democrat Gazette:  Library system again forced to pay for law breach 
•  December 20, 2021, Jonesboro Sun:  Library settles 2nd FOIA lawsuit   

•  Oct 10, 2021: Judge rules that flag display is historic monumentCourt files order against city in suit about display

• July 28, 2021: Lawsuit filed against Huntsville School Board for FOIA violation regarding alleged sexual assault: Madison County Record (July 28) • KNWA (Video)Democrat-Gazette
Madison County Record (August 4) • A messy fight
Democrat-Gazette (Aug 28) • Lawsuit answered (Madison County Record, Sept 1, 2021) • Parent calls for more transparency (4029 News)
• Lawyer: filings violate privacyDistrict responds to lawsuit More claims added to lawsuit against Huntsville district Huntsville School District intentionally withheld documents, amended lawsuit claims 
• Oct 26: Huntsville district asks judge to seal federal sex-abuse case involving students
• Oct 26: "Huntsville School District: Seal Sex-Abuse Case"
• Oct 27: Parents seek charges in Title IX inquiry
• Oct 28: Huntsville school case shouldn't be sealed, paper says 
• Oct 31:  NWA EDITORIAL: A school district's quest for secrecy should be rejected  •  Nov 9, Democrat-Gazette:  No decision in Huntsville records trial 
• Nov 10, NWA Pressreader: Judge: Paper can intervene in suit against district 
• Nov 10, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:  Judge allows newspaper to intervene in Huntsville lawsuit to keep proceedings open 
• Nov 11, Madison County Record:  No answer given in Huntsville Schools FOIA hearing  •  December 7, Democrat-Gazette: Violations persist 
• December 31, 2021, Democrat-Gazette:  Case against schools will not be sealed  •  Jan. 6, 2022, Demcrat-Gazette:  The best disinfectant  
• Feb 27, 2022, Mike Masterson, Democrat-Gazette:  Order ‘forgotten’ 
• March 21, 2022, Democrat-Gazette:  17 candidates run for 7 school board seats in Huntsville after sexual-harassment scandal 
•  May 12, 2022, Democrat Gazette: District broke law, judge says

• June 25, 2021: Complaint filed against Fayetteville schools • Interview with Joey McCutchen (Conduit News) • Interview: Recusals Delay FOIA Suit (Conduit News) • Mike Masterson: A judge, finally Democrat GazetteRecusalsCourt Order Press Release Secure Arkansas •   Fayetteville to pay attorney fees (September 9) • Fayetteville rulingFOIA victory (Arkansas DG,  Sept 14) • Court order to pay attorney fees

• June 3, 2021:  Consent decree, financial transparency discussed at Fort Smith Board strategy session - TB&PNWAonline

• June 17, 2021:  ROBERT STEINBUCH AND JOEY MCCUTCHEN: Protect FOIA - opinion piece in the Democrat Gazette

• June 11, 2021:  McCutchen v. City of Fort Smith: Fort Smith violated Freedom of Information Act in not revealing emails, judge rules . . . read more: SW TimesDemocrat GazetteTB&PKFSM 5NewsCourt Order

• McCutchen v. City of Fort Smith – dealt with secret serial meetings by the City Administrator with members of the City Board of Directors.  (Finding no FOIA violation but upholding FOIA’s use of the term ‘meeting’ based on established precedent.  The Circuit Court had held FOIA to be unconstitutionally vague.)

• June Bradshaw v. Fort Smith Public Schools – dealt with an unlawful meeting (without public notice) and a meeting by email announcing votes or support for School Board officers.  (Summary judgment granted in favor of the Plaintiff finding a violation of FOIA)

• Bruce Wade v. City of Fort Smith – deals with unlawful meetings by email discussing abolishing the City’s Civil Service Commission and another unlawful email meeting discussing a settlement offer in the case.  (Summary judgment granted in favor of the Plaintiff finding a violation of FOIA, currently on appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court)

• Larry Austin v. City of Mansfield – dealt with unlawful meeting by text messages discussing ousting the Mayor.  (2018 case.  Agreed Order finding a FOIA violation)

• Bob Gregory v. Jim Baker, in his capacity as Faulkner County Judge – dealt with an open record request following the County Judge emailing several persons about some federal legislation and asking for others to get voters out.  (2018 case.  Agreed Order finding a FOIA violation)

• Jim Parsons v. Ecclesia, Inc. d/b/a Ecclesia College – deals with an open records request and illegal exaction claims.  (Currently in litigation)

• Steve Whiteaker v. City of Ozark – deals with open records and an unlawful meeting held by text messaging dealing with a desired special audit of the City of Ozark.  (2018 case.  Currently in litigation)

• Washington County Soil & Conservation District v. Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts – deals with an open record request regarding allocation of funds received from sales of conservation license plates.  (2019 Case.  Agreed Order finding a FOIA violation and precluding further violations)

• Bill Ray Lewis v. North Arkansas Regional Medical Center – deals with an open records request primarily for documents regarding receipt and use of grant monies.  (2019 case.  Currently in litigation)