The Lewis and Clark District Court has denied author Jon Krakauer’s attempt to have the Montana University System pay his attorney fees for his successful attempt to access redacted student records of former Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson.

Krakauer is the author of ‘Missoula, Rape and the Justice System in a College Town’.

In a decision released on Wednesday, May 16, the court explained that Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian challenged Krakauer’s right-to-know request because he wished to preserve another fundamental right, that being the right of privacy of students attending the University of Montana.

The court decision stated “It would be inequitable to award attorney fees when, as here, the Commissioner believed releasing the documents would violate the expectation of privacy of its students and run afoul of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).” And that, “because there is no evidence that the Commissioner acted unreasonably when responding to Krakauer's request, attorney fees and costs are unwarranted.”

On March 16, the Supreme Court ordered the Commissioner’s office to release certain redacted documents to Krakauer.


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