NEWBERRY, S.C. — A South Carolina judge has ordered a county council to pay more than $13,000 for not specifically saying why it had to meet behind closed doors.

The State in Columbia reports that a judge has ruled that the Newberry County Council owes Columbia attorney Desa Ballard $13,708 in attorneys’ fees and costs. Ballard had sued the county for violating the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

In an order last week, Judge Thomas Russo ruled the county repeatedly announced its reasons for meeting in executive session in a way that hid the specific topic of the closed-door meeting.

It’s not known if the county will appeal. The attorney who represented the county declined comment.

The president of the S.C. Press Association says the judge’s decision is a great ruling.

Information from: The State,