The Cincinnati Enquirer on Friday sued the city of Cincinnati in Ohio's Court of Claims for access to public records in seven different cases involving delays or incomplete records.
The disputes involve several different city agencies and include at least one request that has not been filled for nearly 18 months.
In several of the cases, repeated requests were made for the records over the course of several months.
And while declining to fill the requests, the city never cited any exemptions to the records law and never provided updates on the process.
"It’s unfortunate we have been forced to take legal action against the city to obtain public records, but we will always fight for government transparency," Enquirer Executive Editor Beryl Love said. "Other municipalities we cover fulfill these types of requests in a timely manner, so it’s hard to understand why the city of Cincinnati has let these requests drag on for so long."
The Enquirer filed in the claims court under Ohio's relatively new system designed to streamline open records disputes.
The cases now go to immediate mediation as a way to avoid further legal actions.
But The Enquirer still reserves the right to take further legal action if mediation is unsuccessful, Enquirer lawyer Jack Greiner said.
"The Enquirer has been extremely patient with these requests. At this point, we think it appropriate to ask the Court of Claims to intervene,” Greiner said.
A spokesman for the city administration declined to comment, saying officials needed to review the lawsuits.