Case Details


Exeptions, Freedom Of Information Act Disclosures

Filing State



Kentucky Court of Appeals




Kentucky v. Attorney General, 2012 Ky. App. LEXIS 44 (Ky. Ct. App. Mar. 12, 2012)


Details of proffer in connection with bid-rigging case from 20 years earlier were disclosable under state FOI Act.

Case Description

In a 1983 investigation, Leonard Lawson made a proffer of information about bid-rigging on state road contracts. In 2008, Lawson was indicted, with a number of others, on charges of trying to obtain confidential files about state road contracts from the state Department of Transportation. Local newspapers filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the proffer made by Lawson in 1983. Lawson sought an injunction, which was granted by the trial court but overturned by the court of appeals. Lawson argued that his proffer should not be disclosed because it falls within the exception for records “containing information of a personal nature. The court held that the information in the proffer did not contain information of a “personal nature,” nor would its release constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” The proffer “contains information given by Lawson on behalf of Mountain Enterprises regarding its participation in bid-rigging for state road contracts. Though Lawson may not want his words to be made public, our review of the proffer reveals that it does not contain any information which “touches upon the personal features of private lives,” or “would be likely to cause serious personal embarrassment or humiliation.” In addition, as part of the proffer, Lawson agreed to testify for the government if necessary. “Lawson agreed to provide this information, which he knew could potentially be made public, in order to settle the civil suit against Mountain Enterprises.” Lawson also argued that the material should be protected by the exception for material compiled by law enforcement agencies. The court held that this exception was designed to protect investigations, and the Attorney General had not raised any objection to release of the proffer, indicating that its disclosure would not harm the agency.