BHH’s Natalie Harris represented the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) and other news groups in connection with amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefing supporting dismissal of a Wisconsin lawsuit filed by business trade associations designed to prevent the Wisconsin Department of Health (WDH) from releasing public records relating to the number of COVID-19 infections affecting certain member businesses. In the fall of 2020, the WDH announced that, in response to a request submitted pursuant to Wisconsin’s open records law, it planned to release the names of Wisconsin businesses with more than 25 employees where at least two workers had tested positive for COVID-19. The trade associations filed suit against the head of WDH, the governor and others, seeking to prevent disclosure on the grounds that the information sought constituted confidential health care records. RCFP and other media organizations filed amicus curiae briefs in the proceedings, emphasizing the importance of public records to journalists who rely on them to report on matters of public concern like the COVID-19 pandemic. The trial court in Waukesha County sided with the trade associations and entered an injunction, prohibiting release of the records. The State of Wisconsin and intervening party, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, appealed and the amici submitted additional briefing, explaining that the “paramount goal of [Wisconsin public records law] is to ensure members of the public have access to information they need to understand issues affecting their communities and their lives . . .” On April 5, 2021, The Wisconsin Court of Appeals issued an order reversing the lower court’s order with instructions to dismiss the trade associations’ lawsuit, paving the way for release of the records. Read the opinion HERE.