The Public Information Act Compliance Board has authority to review and resolve complaints that:
To file a complaint, you must first have attempted to resolve your dispute through the Public Access Ombudsman. If, after attempting to resolve your dispute through the Ombudsman, you have received a final determination stating that the dispute is unresolved or only partially resolved, you may file a complaint with the Board. You must file your complaint within 30 days after receiving the Ombudsman's final determination. In addition, your complaint must be signed.
The Board has adopted regulations that govern its procedures and processes. Those regulations can be found in Title 14, Subtitle 02 of COMAR, and online at COMAR Online.
How to File a ComplaintYou may file a complaint using this complaint form. You may file your complaint by email, PIAOpenGov@oag.state.md.us, with “PIACB Complaint" in the subject line, or by regular mail to:
Public Information Act Compliance Boardc/o Office of the Attorney General200 St. Paul PlaceBaltimore, MD 21202
Public Information Act Compliance Board
c/o Office of the Attorney General
200 St. Paul Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
Please include the following with your complaint:
Please do not include any records or information that you believe are privileged, confidential, or otherwise exempt from public disclosure. In addition, please do not provide any confidential mediation communications or information. Your complaint and any attachments thereto are public records of the Board subject to inspection under the Public Information Act.
How to Respond to a CompliantOnce a complaint is filed, the Board typically will forward the complaint to the custodian or applicant that is the subject of the complaint and request a response. Please note that if the Board determines that it does not have jurisdiction to review a compliant, it may simply notify the complainant of this fact, rather than requesting a response and issuing a written decision.
If you are the subject of a complaint, you must file a written response within 30 days after receiving the complaint from the Board.
You may file a response to a complaint using this response form.
You may file your response by email, PIAOpenGov@oag.state.md.us, with “PIACB complaint" in the subject line, or by regular mail to:
Please send a copy of your response to the complainant at the same time that it is filed with the Board.
Please do not include any records or information that you believe are privileged, confidential, or otherwise exempt from public disclosure. In addition, please do not provide any confidential mediation communications or information. Your response and any attachments thereto are public records of the Board subject to inspection under the Public Information Act.
Reply and Additional Information
In many cases, the Board will allow the complainant to file a reply to the response. Any reply must be filed within 15 days after receipt of the response. As with a complaint and response, a reply and any attachments thereto are public records of the Board subject to inspection under the Public Information Act. Do not include records or information that you believe to be privileged, confidential, or otherwise exempt from disclosure, and do not include any confidential mediation communications or information.
The Board may also request additional information to assist in its resolution of the complaint, including:
If the Board requests records or information that are alleged privileged, confidential, or not otherwise subject to disclosure, the Board must and will maintain the confidentiality of those records or information.
The Board may also hold an informal conference to hear from the complainant, the affected custodian or applicant, or any other person with knowledge relevant to the resolution of the complaint. Informal conferences may be held in-person, or by video or teleconference. If the Board determines that an informal conference is necessary, it will notify the parties as soon as possible after the response is filed.
The Board will issue a written decision:
Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Board has authority to order certain remedies upon finding that a custodian violated the PIA's provisions, or that an applicant's request is “frivolous, vexatious, or in bad faith." Specifically, the Board may order the custodian to:
Section 4-362(a)(2) of the General Provisions Article permits the complainant or custodian to appeal the Board's decision by filing a petition in one of Maryland's circuit courts. If an appeal is filed, the Board's decision is automatically stayed pending the circuit court's opinion. Chapter 5 of the Maryland Public Information Act Manual provides more information about judicial review in general.
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / En español 410-230-1712 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TTY: Dial 7-1-1 or 800-735-2258