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1. Any interested person may request an attorney general's opinion to review a written denial of a request for records under section 44-04-18, a denial of access to a meeting under section 44-04-19, or other alleged violation of section 44-04-18, 44-04-19, 44-04-19.2, 44-04-20, or 44-04-21 by any public entity other than the legislative assembly or any committee thereof. A request made under this section must be made within thirty days of the alleged violation, except that a request based on allegations that a meeting occurred without the notice required by section 44-04-20, must be made within ninety days of the alleged violation. In preparing an opinion under this section, the attorney general has discretion to obtain and review a recording made under section 44-04-19.2. The attorney general may request and obtain information claimed to be exempt or confidential for the purpose of determining whether the information is exempt or confidential. Any such information may not be released by the attorney general and may be returned to the provider of the information. The attorney general shall issue to the public entity involved an opinion on the alleged violation, which may be a summary opinion, unless the request is withdrawn by the person requesting the opinion or a civil action has been filed involving the possible violation. If the request pertains to a public entity as defined in subdivision c of subsection 13 of section 44-04-17.1, the opinion must be issued to the public entity providing the public funds. In any opinion issued under this section, the attorney general shall base the opinion on the facts given by the public entity.
2. If the attorney general issues a written opinion concluding that a violation has occurred, the public entity has seven days after the opinion is issued, regardless of whether a civil action is filed under section 44-04-21.2, to disclose the record, to issue a notice of a meeting that will be held within a reasonable time to correct the violation, or to take steps to correct any other violation. If the public entity fails to take the required action within the seven-day period and the person requesting the opinion prevails in a civil action brought under section 44-04-21.2, the person must be awarded costs, disbursements, and reasonable attorney's fees in the action and on appeal. The attorney general may require officials of the public entity at issue in the opinion to obtain mandatory training by a certain date. The consequences for failing to comply with an attorney general's opinion issued under this section will be the same as for other attorney general's opinions, including potential personal liability for the person or persons responsible for the noncompliance.
3. If a state-level public entity as defined in subdivision a of subsection 13 of section 44-04-17.1 does not comply in full with the attorney general's opinion, and a civil action is brought under section 44-04-21.2 or is reasonably predictable, the entity, at its sole cost and expense, shall retain separate counsel who has been approved and appointed by the attorney general as a special assistant attorney general to represent the entity in that action.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - North Dakota Century Code Title 44. Offices and Officers § 44-04-21.1. Administrative review procedure - last updated January 01, 2020 | https://codes.findlaw.com/nd/title-44-offices-and-officers/nd-cent-code-sect-44-04-21-1/
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