Public Entities

News & Analysis as of

Inadvertent Disclosure of Privileged Documents in Response to a Public Records Act Request Converts the Document Into a Public...

The Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, delivered a sobering reminder to public agencies to carefully review documents produced in response to the Public Records Act (“PRA”) to avoid disclosure of documents protected...more

Syracuse Common Council Passes “Ban the Box” Ordinance

On December 8, the Syracuse Common Council voted 8-1 to pass a “Ban the Box” ordinance. If the ordinance is signed by the Mayor (or if the Mayor’s veto is overridden by the Common Council), the ordinance would prohibit the...more

New FOIA Amendments Affect Public Bodies’ Responses to Requests

Effective immediately, the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto to approve new amendments to the FOIA, which are designed to reduce the burden on public bodies. Public Act 98-1129 provides the following: 1) a...more

Amendment to Illinois FOIA Impacts Requests for Records Available Online - Public Bodies Now Have More Authority Regarding Their...

The Illinois General Assembly overrode Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of House Bill 3796 amending the Illinois Freedom of Information Act on Dec. 3, 2014. HB 3796 is now law, effective immediately. The key provisions of HB 3796...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether a Zoo is a "Local Public Entity"

The basic Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury actions is two years. But the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/1-101) provides that for actions against a “local public...more

When a Meeting is Not a Meeting, at Least According to the FOIC

Most public entities are now intimately familiar with the long reach of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) into the conduct of agency meetings. A recent case from the Freedom of Information Commission (“FOIC”) reminds...more

Fourth Circuit Applies Sovereign Immunity to Shield State Hospital Supervisors from Suit

Some employers are immune from liability by virtue of their status as a state-run operation. Employees have become more creative in attempting to obtain recovery from their employers in such situations by naming individual...more

Fee award against non-party attorney is thrown out by appellate court

In Suarez v. City of Corona, 2014 DJDAR 12101, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District decided an interesting case concerning the interpretation of California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1038....more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Fire District Owed Tort Duty to 911 Caller

In the closing days of its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide a question of potentially great import for Illinois first responders: do public entities and their employees owe a tort duty of care to...more

Internal Revenue Service Releases Interim Guidance Regarding Accountable Care Organizations' Use Of Tax-Exempt Bond-Financed...

On October 24, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2014-67, which provides guidance for determining whether a state or local governmental entity or an organization described by Section 501(c)(3) of the...more

Illinois Supreme Court Holds Subcontractor Should Have Proceeded Against Project Bond

Last month, a divided Supreme Court held that a subcontractor on a public works program should have timely proceeded against the project bond, and had no remedy against the Village after the general contractor went bankrupt...more

Chip-and-PIN is Coming…To the US Government

Last Friday, in the wake of numerous data breaches, President Obama signed a new Executive Order that will change how federal agencies use payment cards and allow access to certain government portals. Those changes include...more

To Campaign or Not to Campaign: A Refresher

As November elections and some major ballot measures loom, and as 2016 general election candidates start copping to “thinking about a run,” now seems a good time to revisit the impartiality required of public agencies and...more

First District Holds CEQA’s Application To Public Agency’s Approval of Railroad Operations Is Preempted By Federal Law Despite...

The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA), a public agency established by state law, contracted with Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWPRC) to allow NWPRC to conduct freight services on tracks controlled by NCRA....more

Public Agency May Recover the Cost of Supplementing Administrative Record

In CEQA litigation, the party challenging the project can either request that the agency prepare the record of proceedings (“Record”), or prepare the Record itself, subject to certification by the lead agency. In either case,...more

Governor Brown Is Not CEQA “Public Agency,” Holds Third District In Indian Casino Case

In a published decision filed September 24, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal (per Justice Robie) held that CEQA’s definition of a “public agency” that is subject to its requirements (see Pub. Resources Code, § 21063)...more

Don’t Make Promises That You Cannot Keep: Greenwich Silver Shield Association v. Town of Greenwich, the FOIA and Discrimination...

Investigations in the public sector confront the competing demands of employee privacy rights and the public’s “right to know” under the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”]. Another decision by the Freedom of Information...more

When Bribery Pays, People Bribe

As Alison Taylor (Senior Managing Director, Control Risks) stated in a recent Forbes Article, “Compliance and Risk: Clearing the Org Chart Hurdle, “the traditional preventative approach to risk management is proving...more

City’s Handling of Application for Subdivision Approvals May Trigger Liability Under Fair Housing Act

The Federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, including discriminatory land use decisions, on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or familial status. The...more

Loose Lips Sink Ships: The Limits of the Attorney-Client Privilege and the Dangers of “Public” Reliance Upon Your Attorney’s...

Public agencies often secure opinions from legal counsel to guide their actions. However, these agencies should be aware that what they say in public about the advice given may jeopardize the confidentiality of the legal...more

Public Officials and Agencies: To Campaign or Not to Campaign?

California law allows public agencies to expend public money and resources to educate voters on matters included on an upcoming election ballot. State law does not permit using public money or resources to advocate on behalf...more

The “Program Accessibility” Exception for Public Entities Under the ADA

Public owners, as well as private owners and tenants of commercial and retail properties, are at risk of lawsuits brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and related state law alleging that their...more

California Public Works Contractors Must Register With State by March 2015

The California Legislature imposed a new registration requirement for contractors and subcontractors involved in public works projects. Senate Bill 854, passed in June, created a registration program, which went into effect...more

Tort Actions Against Public Entities – CCP § 1038 Sanctions Cannot be Awarded Against Parties’ Counsel

Kathryn Settle v. State of California - California Court Of Appeal, Second Appellate District (July 23, 2014) - When a public entity is sued in tort, Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) § 1038 requires a mandatory...more

Public employers, you can’t drug test as if you were in the private sector

Karen Voss was offered a newly created position of Solid Waste Coordinator with the City of Key West. The job entailed marketing and planning related to the city’s recycling programs, and “overseeing other tasks within the...more

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