by Open Virginia Law

Earlier this month, the Daily Progress and other media reported that the Supreme Court of Virginia awarded $250 in damages to climate scientist Michael Mann and the University of Virginia in a prominent Virginia FOIA lawsuit that we wrote about in April. (See also petitioners’ case documents webpage.)…

It borders on epic understatement to say that the Supreme Court of Virginia leaves much to be desired when it comes to openness….

We’re at a loss to identify any basis for the $250 in damages that the Supreme Court of Virginia ordered.  The order doesn’t appear to be an award of costs – the court labels those routine awards clearly as costs and knows better than to label costs as damages – and neither side mentioned costs in media comments on the order. The order can’t be an award of sanctions because it isn’t identified as such, the threshold findings for sanctions weren’t made, and the case plainly isn’t frivolous.  The order can’t be merely an affirmation of damages below because the circuit court didn’t award damages.

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