FAC Leads Coalition Urging California Supreme Court to Hear Public Records Case

FAC filed an amicus letter to the California Supreme Court in support of reviewing the decision in City of Gilroy v. Superior Court, on December 20, 2023. Joined by Californians Aware, California Newspapers Partnership, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Susan E. Seager, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine School of Law, FAC argued the court should hear the case because a lower court incorrectly decided that the California Public Records Act does not authorize a court to issue any remedy beyond ordering disclosure of specific records, including but not limited to a finding that the agency failed to make an adequate search for records.

The letter states: ”An agency cannot disclose what it does not locate. The failure to produce public records due to an inadequate search is tantamount to an outright refusal to disclose[…]It is all too easy for an agency to evade its disclosure obligations by making only a cursory search. If courts lack power to grant relief against such evasive tactics, the CPRA could become a dead letter. As a result, the power to award relief for failure to conduct an adequate search is essential to fulfilling the CPRA’s fundamental purpose to “safeguard the accountability of government to the public.

The California Supreme Court granted review in the case.