§ 38-2-9 Jurisdiction of superior court. (a) Jurisdiction to hear and determine civil actions brought under this chapter is hereby vested in the superior court.
(b) The court may examine any record which is the subject of a suit in camera to determine whether the record or any part thereof may be withheld from public inspection under the terms of this chapter.
(c) Actions brought under this chapter may be advanced on the calendar upon motion of. any party, or sua sponte by the court made in accordance with the rules of civil procedure of the superior court.
(d) The court shall impose a civil fine not exceeding two
thousand dollars ($2,000) against a public body or official found to have
committed a knowing and willful violation of this chapter, and a civil fine not
to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) against a public body found to have
recklessly violated this chapter and shall award reasonable attorney fees and
costs to the prevailing plaintiff. The court shall further order a public body
found to have wrongfully denied access to public records to provide the records
at no cost to the prevailing party; provided, further, that in the event that
the court, having found in favor of the defendant, finds further that the
plaintiff's case lacked a grounding in fact or in existing law or in good faith
argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, the
court may award attorneys fees and costs to the prevailing defendant. A
judgment in the plaintiff's favor shall not be a prerequisite to obtaining an
award of attorneys' fees and/or costs if the court determines that the
defendant's case lacked grounding in fact or in existing law or a good faith
argument for extension, modification or reversal of existing law.
(P.L. 1979, ch. 202, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 87, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 263, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 378, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 448, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 454, § 1.)