Public Records

News & Analysis as of

Do members of the public have a right to access company records?

This article considers whether members of the public have a right to access a company’s company records such as its securities and directors registers. We explore the scope of section 26(2) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008...more

Changes to Public Records Act Reshape Duties of Government Contractors

Recent amendments to Florida's Public Records Act both clarify and alter a contractor's responsibilities under the Act. The 2016 amendment to the Act applies to contracts with a public agency entered into or amended on or...more

"Private" E-mails and FOIA

Recent legal decisions continue to blur the line between private communications and public records, extending the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Because of these shifts, proactive government officials are...more

Pennsylvania Legislature Seeks to Limit Access to Police Video Recordings

The bill establishes a more restrictive process for obtaining video than the courts have provided for under the Right to Know Law. The Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill on October 19 that would prohibit police body...more

PUT YOUR DOCS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM: Seattle Police Enjoined From Disclosing Software Secrets in Public Records Act Dispute

What happens when trade secret protections collide with laws granting public access to government records? This question took center stage in a recent case involving the Seattle Police Department (“SPD”). A federal district...more

Don’t Assume A Strong Discovery Protective Order Means Your Client’s Confidential Information Will Not End Up in the Public Record

The scenario is pretty common. A company is served with a subpoena duces tecum in a lawsuit to which it isn’t a party. Among the categories of documents requested are some that clearly include information the non-party...more

The Fifth Circuit Rules Findings from SEC Civil Investigation are Admissible Evidence at Trial

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals appears to have handed white collar defendants a new tool for trial. In United States v. Gluk, — F.3d —-, 2016 WL 4150901 (5th Cir. Aug. 4, 2016), the court held that a little-noticed...more

Informing Illinois Newsletter - August 2016

Is Your Police Department Ready for Body Cameras? - Police use of force has been heavily scrutinized for more than a year. In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was providing $20 million in grants...more

Florida Court Holds Budget Request Forms and Activity and Service Fee Records Not “Educational Records”

On August 11, 2016, a Florida state court judge held that the University Central Florida Board of Trustees (“UCF”) must produce Budget Request forms and Activity and Service Fee Database records to Knight News, Inc. (“KNI”)...more

North Carolina Public Records Law 101 - A primer for economic development professionals

At the North Carolina Economic Development Association 2016 Annual Conference, I participated on a panel discussion and presentation regarding public records law requirements in North Carolina and how they affect economic...more

Accidental Disclosure Of Public Records Does Not Waive The Attorney-Client And Attorney Work Product Privileges

On March 17, 2016, the California Supreme Court resolved an important case regarding the California Public Records Act, ruling unanimously that the inadvertent release of confidential documents does not waive the...more

Public Bodies Not Required to Create New Records to Respond to FOIA Request

The Second District Appellate Court recently addressed the question of when an electronic record is a public record subject to FOIA and when a public agency is required to release information from an electronic database. In...more

FHA Issues Final Guidelines on PACE Assessments

The U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued final guidance in the form of Mortgagee Letter 2016-11 regarding the subordination of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assessments on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. As...more

Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may...more

The FOIA “Five” – After 50 Years, Changes in the Freedom of Information Act That (Might) Matter

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), passed by Congress and signed into law in 1966, “established a policy of openness toward information within the control of the Executive Branch, and a presumption that such records...more

Criminal Mugshots Are Privacy-Protected Says Divided Sixth Circuit Panel

A deeply divided en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that federal authorities can withhold criminal booking photos requested by the public pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”)....more

We Really Mean It This Time: Recently Enacted FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 Mandates

On June 13, Congress passed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, and President Obama signed the bill into law on June 30, nearly 50 years after the original Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) was first enacted. The new law was...more

California Appellate Court Holds Police Video of Arrest Not Protected Under Pitchess

Only a Record Generated as Part of an Internal Investigation is Protected by Pitchess - The California Court of Appeal has ruled in City of Eureka v. Superior Court (Greenson) that a police “dash cam” video of an...more

Michigan Court of Appeals Clarifies When Documents Produced Under FOIA Are Due

Michigan's Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") has, from its enactment, expressly provided that a public body must respond to a proper request for documents within five business days of when the request is received (subject...more

Court Clarifies Public Bodies Requirement to Provide Documents Under FOIA

A public body must respond to a FOIA request within five days, but the Michigan Court of Appeals has opined that there is no obligation to produce the requested information within that timeframe. In a June 23, 2016,...more

Governor Baker Approves First Major Overhaul of Massachusetts’ Public Records Law

Massachusetts has its first significant update of its Public Records Law since the 1970s with promises of swifter responses and real consequences including attorney’s fees for failures to comply. In August 2015, we...more

Employment Law Letter - Summer 2016

Last year the General Assembly enacted legislation prohibiting all public and private sector employers from disciplining an employee for “discussing the amount of his or her wages [or] inquiring about the wages of another...more

Uber vs. Cab Companies: Trade Secret Edition

A state court in Florida recently ruled that the same categories of information maintained and possessed by government officials relating to two different companies can be both a public record and a trade secret, depending on...more

Controversial “Climate Change” Video Results in Significant FOIA Decision by DC Circuit

On July 5, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an important ruling interpreting the reach ofemail. the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the case of Competitive Enterprise...more

Open Wide: FOIA Reform Expands Public Access to U.S. Government Information

On June 30, 2016, President Obama signed the bipartisan Freedom of Information Improvement Act of 2016 (S. 337). The bill most notably requires that the government operate under a “presumption of openness” in federal law and...more

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