Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Trial Court Rules in Favor of Vermont Attorney General’s Office

October 19, 2017

CONTACT: TJ Donovan, Attorney General, 802 595 8679

In a decision by the Vermont Superior Court, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office was successful in its fight against Energy and Environmental Institute’s (EELI) broad request for discovery into private e-mails of Vermont state employees. The Court balanced the public’s right to know and Vermonters’ right to privacy. The ruling denies EELI’s request to depose three Assistant Attorneys General about private email accounts. The ruling also sets specific, narrow, limits on a proposed deposition of former Attorney General Sorrell.

The Court narrowed the scope of Attorney General Sorrell’s deposition to the topic of documents and correspondence on his private email account that relate to the specific public records request in this case. The Court acknowledged that questions beyond this limited scope of discovery would cause an invasion into individual privacy rights.

The Court’s ruling is in keeping with the Vermont Attorney General’s argument in defense of privacy rights. The Vermont Attorney General’s Office has consistently argued that public servants, like all Vermonters, have privacy rights that must be protected.

Last modified: March 12, 2018