Session April 11, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 15C3610 Thomas
W. Brothers, Judge.
appeal involves the trial court's order of disclosure of
certain public records over the objection of the Tennessee
Department of Commerce and Insurance and the corresponding
denial of attorney fees for failure to disclose the said
records. We affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General & Reporter;
Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Janet M.
Kleinfelter, Deputy Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee,
for the appellant, State of Tennessee, Department of Commerce
Sharp, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Natalie
W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S and Andy D. Bennett, J.,
W. McCLARTY, JUDGE.
December 2011, the Executive Director of the Board of
Cosmetology discovered that a license technician, Latrisha
Johnson ("Johnson"), had destroyed a number of
cosmetology licensee files and had likely been collecting
bribes and fraudulently issuing cosmetology licenses. Maliaka
Bass, Deputy General Counsel for the General Civil Division
of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance
("the Department"), began an investigation. As part
of her investigation, General Bass requested an internal
audit of reciprocal license applications issued from July 1,
2011, through February 14, 2012. On March 13, 2012, the
Department notified Johnson of its intent to dismiss her from
employment based upon the allegations. Johnson resigned two
days later. On May 24, 2012, the Office of Internal Audit
issued a final audit investigation report related to the
result of the final audit, the Department revoked the
licenses of those it believed fraudulently obtained a
license. The Department also brought an administrative action
to revoke the license of Lee Phan, an owner of a nail salon,
upon discovery of his alleged involvement in the scheme.
Natalie Sharp ("Petitioner") represents Mr. Phan.
January 20, 2015, Petitioner submitted a public records
request to the Department pursuant to the Tennessee Public
Records Act, codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section
10-7-101, et seq., in which she sought to inspect the final
audit investigation report, as well as supporting
documentation. The Department denied the request, citing the
attorney work product and attorney-client doctrines.
January 31, 2015, Petitioner submitted a second public
records request in which she sought the following:
(1) All correspondence regarding cosmetology licensing
between [the Department] and media outlets and their
representatives, including, but not limited to, Jennifer
Kraus of News Channel 5[;]
(2) A list of the [employee numbers for] Mark Green, Shilina
Brown, and Roxana Gumucio[; and]
(3) All correspondence between [the Department] and witnesses
subpoenaed for APD Case No. 12.09-12456A.
not indicated in her request, Petitioner sought the
information for purposes of drafting a brief in support of
her request for judicial review of the administrative
decision to revoke Mr. Phan's license. The brief was due
on March 13, 2015.
Department, through Anthony Glandorf, replied to the request
by email, advising Petitioner that the request could not be
completed until February 20, 2015. The employee numbers were
provided on February 19; however, Mr. Glandorf sent
additional emails in which he extended his estimation of the
time necessary to compile the requested documents. Petitioner
did not respond to the emails.
March 6, Mr. Glandorf informed Petitioner that he had
compiled the witness correspondence, and on March 26, he
informed her that the remaining records were available.
Petitioner asked to inspect the records on March 27. Her
request was denied because Mr. Glandorf was out of the ...