Public Records Act

News & Analysis as of

Washington Supreme Court Applies Public Records Act to Public Employees’ Private Cell Phones

On August 27, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously held in Nissen v. Pierce County that text messages sent or received by a public employee in his or her official capacity are public records within the meaning of the...more

California PUC Set to Address Handling of Confidential Records

On August 14, 2015 California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Rafael Lirag extended the deadline for public comment in the CPUC Confidentiality/Public Records Act rulemaking proceeding. This...more

First District Holds Public Agency’s Inadvertent Disclosure of Privileged Documents In Response To PRA Request Does Not Waive...

On July 31, 2015, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District, Division One, filed a 23-page published opinion holding that the inadvertent disclosure of attorney-client privileged and work product protected...more

Court Dismisses City’s Copyright Claim Against Critic for Using Council Meeting Clips in YouTube Videos

A California city cannot hold one of its citizens liable for copyright infringement for using clips of city council meetings in his critical YouTube videos, a federal judge has ruled. The August 20, 2015, Order in City of...more

Court Rejects “Gotcha” Theory of Waiver Under Public Records Act

A California appellate court has ruled that inadvertent disclosure of documents containing attorney-client communications in response to a Public Records Act request does not result in a waiver of the privilege. Newark...more

Trope Doctrine Does Not Apply In Public Records Act Proceeding

In Law Offices of Marc Grossman v. Victor Elementary School District, 2015 DJDAR 8356, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District ruled that the Trope Doctrine did not apply in litigation under the...more

Public Records in Massachusetts: Legislature looks to Improve Access and Top Court Clarifies Attorney-Client and Work-Product...

The combined efforts of Massachusetts’ highest court, its legislature, and the Governor’s office are clarifying and modernizing Massachusetts public records law, which is considered by some to be one of the weakest in the...more

Attorney-Privileged Documents Mistakenly Released Under PRA Still Exempt

California Appellate Court Rules in Case Likely to be Decided by State Supreme Court - A public agency that inadvertently released attorney-client privileged documents to the public did not waive its right for those...more

California Supreme Court Will Review Appellate Decision Holding That Attorney Bills Are Privileged

In June, I blogged about County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court, 235 Cal. App. 4th 1154 (2015). In that case, the California Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District) concluded that legal defense bills...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Addresses Public Records, Closed Session and "Personnel Matters"

In The Times News Publishing Co. v. The Alamance-Burlington Bd. of Education, No. COA15-99 (July 21, 2015), the Court of Appeals considered the intersection between the State's Open Meetings Laws (N.C.G.S. 143-318.9, et seq.)...more

Economic Development in the Sunshine?

The Fifth District Court of Appeal heard oral argument today on the issue of whether the records of the Economic Development Commission of Brevard County are subject to public inspection. The lower court ruled that such...more

The Ethics Advisor: Watch Out For Technology! The Ethical Use of Technology in Your Role as Public Official

Second in a series by BB&K Partner Ruben Duran for the Southern California Latino Policy Center Newsletter* ¡Aguas con el Tech! While the use of technology by elected officials in California may not exactly be...more

Submitting Your Defense Bills to Insurers Could Mean Waiving Privilege

Recently, the California Court of Appeal decided County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court, 235 Cal. App. 4th 1154 (2015), a case considering whether the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department could be...more

Fees For Public Records Act Request Is Only Proper Where The Request Is "Clearly Frivolous"

In Bertoli v. City of Sebastopol, 2015 DJDAR 779, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District decided a case involving a fee request under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”)....more

ESPN v. University of Notre Dame Security Police Department

Earlier this year, ESPN sued the University of Notre Dame Security Police Department, alleging that Notre Dame was withholding police documents involving campus crimes allegedly committed by a number of student-athletes. ...more

Law Enforcement Data May Not Be Subject to PRA

Data collected by automated license plate readers is exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act, a California appellate court held this week. ALPRs scan license plates visible from their position and automatically...more

The SJC Walks Back the GE Decision; State Agencies Can Protect Work Product

In its 1999 decision in GE v. DEP, the SJC surprised most Massachusetts lawyers by ruling that the Commonwealth’s Public Records Act (our version of FOIA) did not have an exemption for work product materials and that it had...more

California Tax Developments - A Reed Smith Quarterly Update (1st Quarter 2015)

Regulatory Updates - GO-Biz Rolls Out First Awards of 2015 For fiscal year 2015, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (“GO-Biz”) is authorized to award $151.1 million in California Competes Tax...more

The Ethics Advisor: Don’t be Such a Crybaby!

“No estés chillando, C@#$0n.” Loosely translated, and with the recipient of that message “BLEEP-ed” to make it G-rated, the quote above means “Don’t be such a crybaby!” Or, as George Lopez might ask: “Why you...more

Water District Case Clarifies California Public Records Act Exemption for Utility Customers

“Customer” Includes a Business or Corporation, Judge Rules - The Public Records Act exempts from required disclosure the identities of commercial, as well as individual, utility customers, according to a recent...more

Attorney Billing Invoices Privileged From Disclosure Under PRA

California Court of Appeal Rules Attorney-Client Privilege Exemption Covers Billing Invoices - Billing invoices sent by an attorney to a client are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, a...more

California Supreme Court to Hear PRA Case on Inadvertent or Accidental Disclosure of Privileged Records

The California Supreme Court has granted review of a controversial Public Records Act ruling and will decide whether the well-recognized protection for attorney-client privileged documents inadvertently disclosed during the...more

LYNX Surveillance Footage Exempt from Public Inspection

In a surprising opinion issued on January 30, 2015, which promises to have a wide-reaching effect, the Fifth District Court of Appeal overturned a declaratory judgment entered in favor of WKMG-TV Local 6, and determined that...more

Review Of FCA And PRA Enforcement Processes: HM Treasury Findings And Recommendations

On 18 December 2014, HM Treasury published a final report following the review that it has undertaken of enforcement decision-making processes at the FCA and the PRA. Originally published in Practical Law on February...more

California AG Declares Whistleblower Tally A State Secret

Since 2004, the California Attorney General has been required to maintain a whistleblower hotline to receive calls from persons who have information regarding possible violations of state or federal statutes, rules, or...more

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