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Victims' lawyers denied access to collapsed bridge information

According to the Star Tribune a Hennepin County judge has decided that a Minneapolis law firm will not be given access to additional data about the bridge collapse.

Minneapolis law firm Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben, sought to obtain all the information that has been collected in regards to the bridge collapse and access to where pieces of the bridge are stored, so that it could better represent bridge victims.

After hearing arguments for weeks, District Judge Herbert Lefler decided that the firms claim of the bridge information falling into the state's data practices act was not correct. The act states that "government data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by a government entity shall be public unless classified by statute ... or federal law, as nonpublic or protected nonpublic." Because the data is not public under federal law, the law firm won't have access, Lefler wrote. (Star Tribune)

The Pioneer Press reports that he Minnesota Department of Transportation maintains it cannot release that information because federal law bars it, unless the National Transportation Safety Board approves it.