of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
M. Flaherty, Cyrus C. Malek, Emily M. Peterson, Samuel
Aintablian II, Briggs and Morgan, P.A., Minneapolis,
Minnesota, for appellant.
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Daniel P.
Rogan, Senior Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, for respondents.
1. On a
motion for a stay pending appeal, a trial court must identify
the relevant factors, weight each factor, and then balance
them, applying the court's sound discretion.
decision of the administrative law judge to issue a stay
pending appeal was not an abuse of discretion.
Tony Webster sought public government data from respondents
Hennepin County and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office
(collectively, Hennepin County) under the Minnesota
Government Data Practices Act (the Data Practices Act).
See Minn. Stat. ch. 13 (2016). Dissatisfied with
Hennepin County's response, Webster filed a complaint
with the Office of Administrative Hearings. The
administrative law judge (ALJ) held that Hennepin County had
violated the Data Practices Act and ordered it to produce all
requested data. Hennepin County appealed the decision and
obtained a stay from the ALJ pending appeal. The court of
appeals denied Webster's motion to lift the stay. Webster
then petitioned this court for review. Because we conclude
that a trial court, or as in this case, an agency ALJ,
has broad discretion to grant a stay
pending appeal, and that the ALJ did not abuse its discretion
in doing so here, we affirm.
August 12, 2015, Webster submitted 14 requests to Hennepin
County for public government data under the Data Practices
Act. Among Webster's requests was one asking that
Hennepin County perform a computer-aided search of its stored
e-mails using 20 separate search terms. Eventually, Hennepin
County responded to all of Webster's requests except for
the e-mail search request. Hennepin County asserted that the
search request was "too burdensome with which to
filed an expedited data-practices complaint alleging that
Hennepin County had violated the Data Practices Act by
failing to promptly and substantively respond to his data
requests. After an evidentiary hearing, the ALJ concluded
that Hennepin County had violated the Data Practices Act. The
ALJ ordered Hennepin County to, among other things, (1)
implement a procedure by June 1, 2016, to ensure that
electronically stored public data, including e-mail, is
organized for easy access and use by the public; and (2)
begin production of the requested data on a rolling basis,
including e-mails, to Webster by May 2, 2016, with all
requested data to be produced by June 3, 2016.
County gathered the relevant e-mails and began producing data
on a weekly basis. Webster was able to inspect some of the
relevant e-mails on May 2 and 9, 2016.
3, 2016, by petition for a writ of certiorari, Hennepin
County appealed the ALJ's order to the Minnesota Court of
Appeals. The next day, Hennepin County asked the ALJ to issue
a partial stay pending appeal. Hennepin County argued that,
absent a stay, its "right to appellate review will be
eclipsed because it will be forced to act, including