The Nebraska Supreme Court recently issued their opinion in case S-08-0524, Bruce Evertson and Perry Van Newkirk v. City of Kimball, Greg Robinson, Mayor and Harold Farrar, City Clerk (Appellants).The Supreme Court ruled the documents in question are public records but are special public records dealing with investigation of a possible law violation. And those special records are exempt from disclosure. The Supreme Court ruled the District Court erred in ordering their release, and so attorney fees the City paid to the plaintiff are to be returned.In July 2005, then Mayor, Greg Robinson, ordered a private firm to investigate a city police officer who was alleged to be targeting Hispanic people for arrest. Robinson listened to a verbal report of their investigation but did not request or receive a written report, in order to save the City the cost of a written report.The police officer was fired. This officer then sued Evertson and Van Newkirk and others in a Federal law suit.At this point, Evertson and Van Newkirk sued the City to produce these public records. In court, the City countered, saying the City has received nothing in writing, therefore there is no public record.Former District Judge Kiristine Cecava ordered the private investigators and their attorneys to produce their notes and a report internal to the investigating firm and charged the City to pay Evertson and Newkirk’s attorney fee. The notes and report were released as ordered by the District Court.The City appealed the case to the Nebraska Supreme Court, saying the City had no written report so there was no public record.The Supreme Court ruled on the matter to provide guidance in future situations. The ruling is that these notes and documents prepared by a private firm as part of a City ordered investigation are indeed public records, even though the City chose not to receive them. However, these particular records are special records because they deal with investigation of possible law violations and not subject to public assessability. Since the lower court was wrong in ordering release and the payment of attorney fees, the attorney fees are to be returned to the City.The documents in question have already been released so that part of the case is moot. The sum of $23,192.51 in attorney fees is to be returned to the City.