Public Records

News & Analysis as of

EEOC Consent Decrees are its Most Powerful Enforcement Mechanisms

The vast majority of settlements between an employer and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) take the form of a court-approved consent decree. This document is a public record designed to highlight and...more

Naming Names: Washington Supreme Court Holds That Public Employers Must Disclose the Names of Employees Being Investigated for...

On April 2, 2015, the Washington Supreme Court held that public employees under investigation for workplace misconduct cannot prevent their identities from being disclosed in response to a request for public records. The...more

Texas Supreme Court Argument Preview - 3/15

On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, the Supreme Court of Texas will hear argument in two cases. No. 13-0745, Greater Houston Partnership v. Paxton - This dispute arises from a request for the records of the Greater Houston...more

Sunshine Creeps into Dark Corners of Harrisburg

National Sunshine Week did not exist in the 1700s, but the Founding Fathers knew all too well the frustrations of accessing public records and even wrote about it right here in Philadelphia. Originally published in The...more

Texas Supreme Court Relaxes Its Grip on the Discovery Rule

The Texas Supreme Court – that elephants’ graveyard of claims and causes of action – has sided with a lessor-plaintiff who relied on the discovery rule to defeat a limitations defense. For the many with low expectations when...more

Texas Supreme Court grants review in seven cases (2/15)

The seven cases include issues about the following topics: - breach-of-contract issues under a gas-purchase agreement - applicability of the open-records laws to a nonprofit entity ...more

Florida’s Public Records Law: What Your Private Company Should Know

Does your private company contract with government agencies? If so, your company may have records that must be disclosed to the public under Florida’s Public Records Law. Florida’s Public Records Law can be found in Chapter...more

To Close or Not to Close: Tennessee Attorney General Weighs in on Hospital Bonuses and What Constitutes a Strategic Plan

On January 28, 2015, the Tennessee Attorney General ("Attorney General") issued a formal opinion ("Opinion") addressing whether Tennessee law permits "the board of a public hospital to meet in closed session to discuss...more

Public Entities Can Inadvertently Waive Privilege in Response to a Public Records Act Request

California’s Public Records Act (PRA) law requires public entities to make their public records open for inspection and copying. Environmental practitioners often use PRA requests as a tool to obtain information regarding a...more

Broker-Dealer Beat - January 2015

New FINRA Rule 3110(e) streamlines and clarifies members' obligations relating to background investigations of registered persons and adds a requirement to adopt written procedures to verify the accuracy and completeness of...more

Show Your Work: Washington Supreme Court Awards Attorney’s Fees in Public Records Case for Failure to Provide “Brief Explanation”...

The Washington Supreme Court has long endorsed a liberal construction of the Washington Public Records Act (PRA), calling it a “strongly-worded mandate for broad disclosure of public records.” Hearst Corp. v. Hoppe, 90 Wn.2d...more

N.C. Court of Appeals: Statutory "Custodian" of Public Records Is "In Charge of" the Relevant Office

Former Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline was removed from office by Court order in the first half of 2012. The story behind her efforts to return to the office has been detailed at great length by the local Raleigh and...more

Orange County Sanctioned for Frivolous Appeal

In a scathing opinion issued on December 12, 2014, the Fifth District Court of Appeal took Orange County and its attorney to task for its appeal of an order awarding attorneys fees in connection with the County’s violation of...more

Was California’s Public Records Act Founded On The Aventine Hill?

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the ancient Romans chose to explain their origins with tales of defeat, invasion, fratricide, communal rape and assassination. The city, which eventually occupied seven hills...more

The Secret Is Out: The Documentary Transfer Tax Will Now Be Part of Public Record

The Documentary Transfer Tax Act allows each county and city to impose a tax on each deed, instrument, or writing by which any real estate is sold within the county at the time the document is recorded. Assembly Bill No....more

PAC Holds that Public Bodies Must Release Employee Informal Investigative Reports

The Public Access Counselor (PAC) recently addressed the issue of whether informal employee investigative reports concerning the misconduct of a public employee are subject to disclosure under Section 7(1)(n) of the FOIA. In...more

Public Records Act Update: Washington Court of Appeals Endorses Flexible Approach to Agencies' Response Time to Public Records...

In Andrews v. Washington State Patrol, No. 32288-2-III, 2014 WL 4627656 (Wash. Ct. App. Sept. 16, 2014), a case involving response times to public records requests, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the...more

Improperly Indexed Mortgage: How Far Does Your Record Review Need to Go to Be Safe?

Albert v. Green Tree Servicing, LLC (In re El Erian), 512 B.R. 391 (Bankr. D. D.C. 2014) – A chapter 7 trustee sought to avoid the lien of a recorded deed of trust because (1) it contained both correct and incorrect...more

Copyright Law Protects Course Syllabi From Disclosure Under Missouri Sunshine Law

Last month, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, held that a public university was not required to turn over copies of certain course materials, including course syllabi, in response to a public records request....more

Everyone will know I filed for bankruptcy. Wrong!

People interested in filing bankruptcy are often fearful that their neighbors and co-workers will find out. Let's take a look at what's so about that....more

7th Cir. Confirms Protections for Sealing Parties' Confidential Documents

A common concern for business litigants is protecting legitimately confidential matter contained in documents produced during discovery from dissemination to non-parties. The Supreme Court’s decision in Seattle Times Co. v....more

The Police Have The Right To Remain Silent Too: The Supreme Court Rules On The Disclosure Of Police Reports Under The FOIA

The Connecticut Supreme Court has resolved an intense debate about what law enforcement agencies are required to release with regard to arrest records and associated reports. This decision could affect the ability of school...more

Supreme Court of PA Reaffirms the Broad Scope of the Commonwealth Court’s Declaratory Judgment Jurisdiction in Challenges to...

Many Pennsylvania Lawyers only encounter the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in its appellate guise, but the court enjoys an unusual hybrid nature, having both appellate and original jurisdiction. The court’s original...more

Tips for Reacting to an "In-Person" Public Records Request under Florida's Public Records Act

Under Florida's broad Public Records Act ("the PRA"), chapter 119, Florida Statutes, any person - whether an individual or a legal entity - can request access to or copies of public records in the custody of state agencies,...more

The revised PSI Directive – European Commission publishes guidelines on re-use of public sector information

On July 17th, 2014, the European Commission published guidelines for the re-use of public sector information ("PSI"). These guidelines shall support the EU Member States in the transposition of the 2013 revision of the so...more

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