CA Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Local Governments in PRA Case
The California Supreme Court this week issued its opinion in one of several Public Records Act cases pending on its docket, and the decision is good news for local governments. The issue in the case is whether a public agency waives the attorney-client privilege if it inadvertently discloses a privileged document in response to a Public Records Act request. The Court of Appeal found that such inadvertent disclosure waived the privilege, and as such those records could be used against the agency in subsequent litigation.
The Supreme Court unanimously reversed that decision, concluding that an inadvertent disclosure does not waive the privilege and the documents need to be returned to the agency. The Court quoted CSAC’s amicus brief in the opinion to address some of the practical realities of complying with PRA requests. The case is Ardon v. City of Los Angeles.
Several other big Public Records Act cases remain on the docket, including the question of whether public records on privately owned devices are subject to the Public Records Act.