News

TRANSPARENCY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 PUBLIC RECORDS EDITION


April 15, 2020 Public Records, Uncategorized

Continuing on the theme of government transparency and how you get the information you need to cover the developing COVID-19 crisis, I have outlined here some principles to remember.  Email first@smvt.com to request a sample letter you can use to … Continued

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TRANSPARENCY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 OPEN MEETINGS LAW EDITION


April 15, 2020 Uncategorized

I want to begin with my gratitude for the vital and hard work that you all have been doing to report on the coronavirus crisis.  Personally, I check five or six news websites about every hour to see what has … Continued

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INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR LOSSES DUE TO COVID-19


April 7, 2020 Insurance and Coverage

Most businesses are suffering at least some losses—ranging from inconvenience to catastrophe—as the result of the COVID-19, or Novel Coronavirus, pandemic.  Some of these losses may be covered by insurance policies purchased by the affected businesses. Business Interruption Insurance One … Continued

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FFR: Fourth Circuit Reverses Gag Order


October 29, 2018 Uncategorized

Some of you have been following ongoing federal court litigation related to North Carolina hog farms.  All of you, however, should take note of a 4th Circuit Ruling handed down today reversing a gag order entered in those cases. Judge Britt, … Continued

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Prepare now for Hurricane Florence insurance claims


September 12, 2018 Insurance and Coverage

You may have heard Hurricane Florence is coming. You’ve stocked up on water, propane and non-perishable food. You’ve refilled your prescriptions and gotten gas for your cars and generator. You’ve restocked your First-Aid kit, charged all of your charging sticks, … Continued

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FIRST FOR A REASON: ACCESS TO PERSONNEL INFORMATION


October 30, 2017 Uncategorized

FFR received an inquiry about the specifics of the statement in last week’s post that “The law is very narrow with regard to what personnel information is public.  However, almost all personnel statutes permit the public agency to release personnel … Continued

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FIRST FOR A REASON: OPEN COURTS, OPEN MEETINGS & PUBLIC RECORDS


October 30, 2017 Uncategorized

Access To Court Proceedings And Court Records In addition to the cases that recognize a Constitutional right of access to court files and court proceedings, North Carolina’s Constitution provides that all courts shall be open. C. Const. art. I, § … Continued

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FIRST FOR A REASON: THE REPORTER’S PRIVILEGE


October 19, 2017 Uncategorized

North Carolina has a robust reporter’s privilege.  G.S. § 8-53.11.  8-53-1  The privilege applies regardless of whether information is confidential or nonconfidential, published or not published and applies to all aspects of a news operation. A journalist can waive the … Continued

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FIRST FOR A REASON: COURT ORDERS RELEASE OF POLICE VIDEO


October 9, 2017 Uncategorized

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million.  Until a year ago, though, the law with regard to law enforcement videos was muddy.  Some departments took the position that video (particularly of officer-involved … Continued

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