The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services must pay more than $300,000 in attorneys’ fees to the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader after violating the state Open Records Act.
In an order dated March 18, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd also upheld the $756,000 in statutory penalties he ordered the Cabinet to pay in December for not releasing records related to child fatalities.
One of the disputes involved records related to the death of Amy Dye – a 9-year-old from Todd County who was allegedly murdered by a sibling who had been the victim of a Cabinet-substantiated child abuse case.
The Cabinet asserted that it was serving the public interest by protecting its clients’ privacy. Shepherd called the Cabinet's actions a “willful and unyielding determination to shield its conduct from public scrutiny.”
Calls to Cabinet for Health and Family Services representatives were not immediately returned.