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Law firm sues MnDOT for access to bridge documents

Law firm Schwebel, Goetz, & Sieben filled a suit in Hennepin County District Court Thursday to gain access to all Minnesota Department of Transportations documents and records pertaining to the 35W bridge collapse. The case cites the Minnesota Data Practices Act.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the filing Thursday. The Star Tribune published an Associated Press report on the case on Thursday. Both articles refer to the lawsuit prominently.

Analysis:

The primary document that the articles dealt with was the civil complaint that was filed to initiate the lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court. The lawsuit itself was pursuant to and based off of the Minnesota Data Practices Act requests the firm had made. Most journalists are familiar with this statute, so the reporters handled writing about the issues the lawsuit raised well. Next to the civil complaint, the primary source in the story was attorney James Schwebel. He was quoted extensively about the filing and why the firm is pursuing the case on behalf of victims. MnDOT spokeswoman Lucy Kender was also quoted. She pointed out that the department has received numerous requests for the information, but declined to comment on the lawsuit. Overall, the article was reported fairly and well, and the lawsuit was interpreted correctly.