A&A: Agency Claims 90-Day Records Request Response Time

Q: I am requesting records from multiple agencies. and meeting with resistance and run around.  In one case, my request passed through three agencies until I was finally told that a response would be forthcoming in 90 days.  I questioned the 90 days and below was a response from there legal dept.

“Government Code 6253(c) also states that when a state agency makes a determination that it has disclosable public records, that “the agency shall state the estimated date and time when the records will be made available.” In accordance with this provision of the Government Code, the Department estimated that the records you requested will be made available within 90 days.”

Does the CPRA allow this?

A: Under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”), an agency must respond to a CPRA request within 10 days, or up to an additional 14 days in “unusual circumstances,” but the requester must be apprised of this extension in writing.  Gov’t Code § 6253(c)

(“[U]pon a request for a copy of records, [the agency] shall, within 10 days from receipt of the request, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the person making the request of the determination and the reasons therefor.”).

As you know, the agency must state the estimated date and time when disclosable records will be made available (Gov’t Code § 6253(c)); however, the CPRA does not provide a required timeline by which an agency must disclose requested documents, and “[t]he Act provides no remedy for failure to timely comply with a request for records.” Rogers v. Superior Court, 19 Cal. App. 4th 469, 483 (1993), as modified (Oct. 13, 1993), (emphasis added).

Bryan Cave LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC hotline inquiries.  In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation.  No attorney-client relationship has been formed by way of this response.