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160012 - Hassan M Ahmad v University of Michigan

Hassan M. Ahmad,


Philip Ellison





(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)



(Ct of Claims – Borrello, S.)


University of Michigan,


Timothy Lynch





In accordance with an agreement between a donor of personal papers and the University of Michigan’s Bentley Library, several boxes of donated documents were designated to be closed to view for 25 years.  The plaintiff filed a request under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking for the release of materials that were restricted under the agreement.  After the defendant denied the plaintiff’s FOIA request, the plaintiff sued in the Court of Claims, seeking access to the documents.  The defendant moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(8), arguing that the plaintiff failed to state a claim for release of a “public record” under the FOIA because the documents do not meet the definition of a public record in MCL 15.232(i).  The trial court granted summary disposition in favor of the defendant, but the Court of Appeals reversed in an unpublished opinion, holding that the documents are a “public record” under the statutory definition.  The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal to address whether the documents sought by the plaintiff are within the definition of “public record” in MCL 15.232(i).​