A lawsuit over the $82,000 cost the University of Missouri estimated to research and copy public records is ready for trial, attorneys told Circuit Judge Jeff Harris during a brief pretrial hearing on Monday in Boone County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit was filed in 2016 by the Beagle Freedom Project, known previously as Animal Rescue Media Education. The organization had filed a request for records for all 179 dogs and cats being used for research during the previous year. UM System Custodian of Records Paula Barrett provided an estimate that it would cost $82,000 to produce the records.

The organization argues in the lawsuit that the cost is prohibitively high and violates the Missouri Sunshine Law.

MU attorneys argue that its estimate represented the cost of researching and copying the records, including photographs and videos maintained by principal investigators in the animal research projects. They also say the $82,000 was an estimate and money would be refunded if the actual cost of the records was less than that.

The university could be fined up to $1,000 for knowingly violating the Sunshine Law and as much as $5,000 for a purposeful violation.

Harris took care of final issues Monday in preparation for a trial scheduled to begin July 16.

The attorney for Beagle Freedom Project missed a deadline to file its trial brief. The attorney, Eric Crinnian, apologized and said he would file it soon.

The trial is expected to take two days. Harris asked the attorneys if they thought the time frame was reasonable. They both agreed.

"We plan on using the first day ourselves," Crinnian said.

Paul Maguffee, attorney for MU, said one day should be adequate for its defense.

Harris said the trial could go long each day if needed, since there's no jury.

Another pretrial hearing is scheduled next Monday.