CRANFILL, District Judge.
[¶1] Mr. Williams submitted a Public Records Request to the Campbell County Sheriff's office requesting a list of the "weapons and or offensive/defensive implements carried on the persons of any officers" involved with the killing of Niki Jo Burtsfield as well as "implements normally carried in an officer[`]s vehicle." The Sheriff's office timely responded. Mr. Williams believed he was not provided all of the documents he requested, and made further inquiry. After some additional discussion between Mr. Williams and the Sheriff's office, Mr. Williams filed a "Petition for Reasonable Response Pursuant to § 16-4-202(b) & (c)." The district court granted summary judgment for the defendant, Scott Matheny, as Campbell County Sheriff. Mr. Williams appeals, requesting that he be allowed to physically inspect the original records. He raises several arguments for the first time on appeal, which we do not consider. Because the issues are moot, we affirm.
[¶2] Mr. Williams states the following issues on appeal verbatim:
This Court restates the issue as follows:
[¶3] On September 22, 2015, Mr. Williams submitted a public records request to the Campbell County Sheriff's office (Sheriff's office). Mr. Williams requested:
[¶4] The Sheriff's office timely responded with the "Annual Patrol Equipment Inventory" of each of the officers involved; Deputies Jeff Mooney, Murel Brink, Ed Holden, Brittany Van Zee, and Corporal Scott Appley.
[¶5] On Friday, October 23, 2015, Mr. Williams returned to the Sheriff's office and verbally requested a list of the items carried on the officers' person. Mr. Williams was provided with General Order 302 (G.O. 302), which is an equipment inventory from the Campbell County Sheriff's Office Policy and Procedure Manual.
[¶6] The Deputy Campbell County Attorney assigned to assist with legal issues of the Sheriff's department, learned that the officers' weapons were purchased personally, and that the make, model and serial number were on the bi-annual qualification sheets of each officer. This information was provided to Mr. Williams.
[¶7] On October 29, 2015, Mr. Williams filed a "Petition for Reasonable Response Pursuant to § 16-4-202(b) & (c)" in district court, regarding his request to the Sheriff's office. He requested that the Sheriff or his "appointed representative do one of the following:"
[¶8] The Sheriff filed a "Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and/or Motion to Dismiss" on November 18, 2015. The district court held a hearing on May 11, 2016, and issued an order requiring Mr. Williams to respond to the Sheriff's Rule 4 argument within 10 days, as well as allowing the Sheriff to file alternative pleadings or other information which would convert the matter to a motion for summary judgment within 30 days. Mr. Williams was also permitted to respond to any additional materials. Both parties submitted additional materials, and the district court granted the Sheriff's Motion for Summary Judgment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
[¶9] We review a grant of summary judgment entered in response to a declaratory judgment action through our usual standard for review of summary judgments. State ex rel. Arnold v. Ommen, 2009 WY 24, ¶ 13, 201 P.3d 1127, 1132 (Wyo. 2009); Voss v. Goodman, 2009 WY 40, ¶ 9, 203 P.3d 415, 419 (Wyo. 2009).
Cheyenne Newspapers, Inc. v. Board of Trustees of Laramie Cty. Sch. Dist. No. One, 2016 WY 113, ¶ 8, 384 P.3d 679, 682 (Wyo. 2016) (quoting Cont'l Western Ins. Co. v. Black, 2015 WY 145, ¶ 13, 361 P.3d 841, 845 (Wyo. 2015) (quoting City of Casper v. Holloway, 2015 WY 93, ¶ 28, 354 P.3d 65, 73 (Wyo. 2015))).
[¶10] The issues Mr. Williams states on appeal differ from the relief he requested of the district court.
[¶11] This appeal presents no disputed issues of material fact. The Court's only task is to determine if the Sheriff's office was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In determining whether the district court appropriately granted summary judgment, we look to the same documents as the district court, giving no weight to any legal conclusions. We review the materials in a light most favorable to Mr. Williams because he opposes the motion.
Hatton v. Energy Elec. Co., 2006 WY 151, ¶ 9, 148 P.3d 8, 12-13 (Wyo. 2006) (quoting Cook v. Shoshone First Bank, 2006 WY 13, ¶ 12, 126 P.3d 886, 890 (Wyo. 2006), quoting Jones v. Schabron, 2005 WY 65, ¶ 10, 113 P.3d 34, 37-38 (Wyo. 2005) (internal citations omitted)).
[¶12] Distilling out Mr. Williams' "strong"
Jones, ¶ 10, 113 P.3d at 37-38 (citing Downen v. Sinclair Oil Corporation, 887 P.2d 515, 519 (Wyo. 1994) (emphasis added)).
[¶13] Mr. Williams has made it abundantly clear that he believes he is not receiving all of the documents he requested which relate to the Burtsfield incident. He offers the following in support of his belief:
[¶14] It was Mr. Williams' burden to show that there is a dispute as to a material fact in order for his petition to survive summary judgment. He has not done so. The evidence he relies on to show that some document has not been provided is comprised of assumptions, conclusory statements, and conjecture. It is not admissible, competent evidence. It has long been the rule that such evidence will not propel a claimant past a summary judgment challenge.
[¶15] Because it is clear to this Court that no issue of material fact exists, we next determine if the Sheriff was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. "We `may affirm the summary judgment on any legal grounds appearing in the record.'" Lawrence v. City of Rawlins, 2010 WY 7, ¶ 12, 224 P.3d 862, 868 (Wyo. 2010) (quoting Wyo. Cmty. College Comm'n, ¶ 11, 31 P.3d at 1247). The district court correctly determined that the inquiry is moot, and we affirm.
Operation Save Am. v. City of Jackson, 2012 WY 51, ¶ 21, 275 P.3d 438, 448 (Wyo. 2012).
[¶16] Here, Mr. Williams requested a list of the offensive/defensive implements normally carried by an officer and in an officer's vehicle, as well as those specifically carried by the officers responding to the Burtsfield shooting. He has been provided the annual patrol inventory, two general orders regarding equipment and firearms, the Sheriff's office incident report as well as some information from DCI's investigation. Mr. Williams' statement regarding General Order 201 indicates that he has received the information he was seeking. He stated: "in that document [G.O. 201] there is a list of allowed weapons — a LIST in a POLICY,
[¶17] Mr. Williams concedes that G.O. 201 was the document he was seeking, a document he has now received. His continued insistence on physically inspecting all of the Sheriff's files seems to arise from his concern that the Sheriff is "hiding" something from him. The Court cannot grant him relief on that basis alone.
[¶18] Additionally, it does not appear that the relief Mr. Williams has requested is contemplated by the Wyoming Public Records Act (the Act). The Act provides relief in three instances. First, when requested records are not under the control of the person to whom application is made, if the applicant believes there is no good cause preventing a response within 7 business days, the applicant may petition the district court for a determination as to whether good cause exists. See Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-4-202(b) (LexisNexis 2017). A similar procedure is outlined if the requested records are in active use or storage. Wyo. Stat. Ann. 16-4-202(c). If an applicant believes good cause does not exist for a delayed response, the applicant may petition the court for a good cause determination. Id. Mr. Williams' petition does not fall into either of these categories.
[¶19] Second, the Act also includes a remedy when the custodian denies access to any public record, stated as follows:
Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-4-203. Here, the custodian has not denied access to any public record. Accordingly, Mr. Williams' request does not fall under these provisions either.
[¶20] Lastly, the Act provides a remedy for violations as stated in Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-4-205, which provides,
Clearly, Mr. Williams' request does not fall into this category either. It does not appear to the Court that the Wyoming Public Records Act contemplates the relief Mr. Williams has requested, but it is not necessary to resolve that question at this time.
[¶21] The Court deems it prudent to note that no obligation exists under the public records act to create a public record if none exists. The very definition of a public record indicates as much: "`Public records' when not otherwise specified includes any information in a physical form created, accepted, or obtained by the state or any agency, institution or political subdivision of the state in furtherance of its official function and transaction of public business which is not privileged or confidential by law." Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-4-201(v). Only information that is in a physical form qualifies as a public record. If information is known to the state or an agency but it is not in a physical form created, accepted, or obtained by the state or agency, by definition, that information is not a public record.
[¶22] The Act goes on to state that in the case of an electronic records request, "(iii) An agency shall not be required to compile data, extract data or create a new document to comply with an electronic record request if doing so would impair the agency's ability to discharge its duties." Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 16-4-202(d). The Act does not require that known information be reduced to a public record, rather the Act grants the public the right, subject to the protection by the custodian, to inspect documents which are public records.
[¶23] The Sheriff has, as of the time of the district court's ruling, provided the information that Mr. Williams has requested, rendering this inquiry moot. We affirm.
In his appeal, Mr. Williams states the issues and requested relief as follows: