Search Results for: 4956.9 litigation – Page 2

FAC Victory in “Reverse CPRA” Case: Court Orders Disclosure of Records Alleging Misconduct by Milpitas City Official

In an important win for government transparency, a Santa Clara Superior Court judge has ruled that the city of Milpitas must release documents relating to allegations of serious misconduct by former city manager Tom Williams. The city originally withheld the documents based in part on a “reverse California Public Record Act” lawsuit filed by Williams more than a year ago. Judge Sunil Kulkarni’s order ends Williams’ “reverse CPRA” lawsuit by vacating a temporary restraining order

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Los Angeles Settles Suit Filed By FAC, Agrees to Retain City Records For At Least Two Years

The city of Los Angeles has agreed it must retain city records for at least two years as part of a settlement agreement reached today with the First Amendment Coalition–a victory for transparency and government accountability in the nation’s second-largest city, and an assurance that the public will have the access to city records to which it is entitled under California  law. Under the settlement terms, the city agreed to amend its “records disposition schedules”–rules

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Victory in the Ninth Circuit for FAC and for Government Transparency

  The First Amendment Coalition today secured an important victory in its long-running fight with the U.S. Department of Justice to bring to public light legal memos analyzing the use of drone strikes to kill American citizens abroad. In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held that FAC is entitled to have the government pay FAC’s attorneys’ fees for its five-year legal battle with DOJ over the release of the so-called

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Water district, in settlement with FAC, agrees to disclose water usage by corporations

A Southern California water district, as part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the First Amendment Coalition, has agreed to tell the public how much water each of its corporate customers is pumping from underground aquifers. The Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs had published this information in past years, but changed policy in 2013, ostensibly to protect the “privacy interests” of its corporate customers. The water district relied on section 6254.16 of

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A&A: Accessing county’s payments to a doctor now under arrest for molestation

Q: I am a journalist and victims advocate. I wanted to know about whether it was possible to get records of payments made by all  County agencies–including the District Attorney’s office–to a child psychiatrist. The psychiatrist was arrested for molesting hundreds of boys and was under contract to the courts for four decades. We have reason to believe the DA’s office hired him as well, which would make their prosecution of him a conflict of

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FAC Litigation Report: update on select current cases

FAC has been hard at work in state and federal court, fighting to keep government transparent and our elected leaders accountable.  Here are brief summaries of some recent developments in select FAC cases: Drone Memo Case: FAC in the Ninth Circuit  FAC lawyers were in court again last month in a lawsuit that helped bring once-secret U.S. Department of Justice memos to public light.  The memos, analyzing the legality of killing U.S. citizens with weaponized

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In settlement with FAC, LA County Jail releases inmate visitor log, agrees to relax secrecy rule

SCHEER–As part of a legal settlement with the First Amendment Coalition, the Los Angeles County Jail has agreed to pull back its veil of secrecy on the identities of persons who visit incarcerated public officials. The jail’s prior policy had been to withhold—on grounds of privacy-protection–the names of visitors to all jail inmates. Going forward, the state’s biggest jail will apply a “presumption” of access when the requests (made under the Public Records Act) relate

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FAC lawsuit leads to model CPRA policy for dot-gov email

Auburn and San Jose are the first cities in California to adopt policies acknowledging the public’s right of access to city officials’ emails about government business–regardless of the kind of email accounts used to send or receive those emails. Emails have long been covered by California’s Public Records Act (PRA), which treats paper records the same as digital records. But public officials wishing to avoid the PRA–often the same officials who most loudly proclaim their

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Reporters Committee hires litigation director in free press struggle

The  Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is launching an aggressive campaign in defense of journalists, for the first time hiring a legal director to bring lawsuits across the U.S. The RCFP is expected to focus on the right of journalists “to monitor government activities.” The move is seen as helping to fill a void as there has been a recent dropoff in cases over access and freedom of information. (Columbia Journalism Review, September

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A&A: Can settlements be negotiated in closed session if no pending litigation exists?

Can settlements be negotiated in closed session if no pending litigation exists? Q: Our local water district has held a series (over 6 months) of closed sessions. It appears that the district is negotiating a water rights transfer or deal with another local water district. They cannot negotiate jointly a “settlement” agreement if no “pending” litigation exists. Isn’t this a violation of the Brown Act? If so, what is the recourse? A: The provision of

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A&A: Do legal fees count under pending litigation CPRA exemption?

Q: My records request for the documents showing how much money the county has spent on a current and ongoing lawsuit.   The County states that the information revealing the total money spent is privileged because the case is in active litigation. It would appear to me that no privileged information concerning the case would be jeopardized by providing the total amount of taxpayer money spent on the this case.  Is the County required to provide

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Google’s purchase of Motorola shows dangers of out-of-control patent litigation

BY PETER SCHEER—Google’s $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola is a sign of serious problems for the US economy. Motorola’s strategic appeal to Google is its portfolio of thousands of patents covering mobile phone technologies. But the acquisition of these patents creates no real value for Google. They are in the nature of a massive  premium payment for insurance against suits by competitors and others for alleged patent infringement. Google is at risk for such suits

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Attorney Judy Alexander Joins FAC as Special Access Litigation Counsel

Starting this month, FAC has retained veteran first amendment and access lawyer Judy Alexander as FAC’s Special Access Litigation Counsel. Judy will be representing FAC in access cases across the state as part of FAC’s  expanded litigation initiative. Alexander, a former FAC Board member, has 25 years experience in first amendment and access matters, including litigation for news media and other clients to obtain access to public records, meetings, courtrooms and judicial records under the

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FAC’s Peter Scheer to speak at May 8 public records litigation seminar

What are the practical steps that citizens and media should take before bringing a lawsuit in a public records case? This question will be the focus of discussion for FAC Executive Director Peter Scheer and other top government-access legal specialists participating in the Public Records Act Litigation Seminar, Wed., May 8 in San Francisco. The seminar is designed for public and private attorneys who handle denials of citizen and media public records requests and public

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Court costs in student press freedom case mount over 13 years of litigation

The College of Staten Island  prolonged litigation over a free press issue and although students only won a $9 judgment, court costs charged to the college could total over $750,000. -db FIRE Commentary October 28, 2010 By Azhar Majeed Over at the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), Adam Goldstein writes about Husain v. Springer, in which students at the College of Staten Island in New York sued the college president after she canceled a student

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71 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 235 Disclosure of Records Pertaining to Litigation (1988)

Office of the Attorney General State of California 71 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 235 Opinion No. 87-304 July 13, 1988 THE HONORABLE MAXINE WATERS MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY THE HONORABLE MAXINE WATERS, MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY, has requested an opinion of this office on the following questions: 1. What records pertain to “pending litigation” within the meaning of subdivision (b) of section 6254 of the Public Records Act? 2. Do records of a

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75 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 14 Local Board Can Use Closed Session to Discuss Litigation Settlement (1992)

Office of the Attorney General State of California 75 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 14 Opinion No. 91-803 February 5, 1992 THE HONORABLE MICHAEL D. BRADBURY DISTRICT ATTORNEY VENTURA COUNTY THE HONORABLE MICHAEL D. BRADBURY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, VENTURA COUNTY, has requested an opinion on the following question May a local agency such as a county board of supervisors use the “pending litigation” exception of the Ralph M. Brown Act to go into closed session to deliberate

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62 OPS. Cal. Atty. Gen.150 Can Two Legislative Bodies and Their Counsels Meet in Executive Session to Discuss Litigation Settlement? (1979)

Office of the Attorney General State of California 62 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 150 Opinion No. CV 78-103 April 10, 1979 THE HONORABLE STANLEY M. RODEN DISTRICT ATTORNEY SANTA BARABRA COUNTY THE HONORABLE STANLEY M. RODEN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SANTA BARABRA COUNTY, has requested an opinion on the following questions: 1. Is it a violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act for the full legislative bodies of a city and a water district, each accompanied by

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New York Times editorial asks for strong reform of state secrets policy

The Electronic Frontier Foundation embraces a New York Times editorial that criticizes the new guidelines for invoking the state secrets privilege, arguing that independent court review is essential to prevent abuses of the privilege. -DB Electronic Frontier Foundation Legislative Analysis September 30, 2009 By Kevin Bankston Today’s New York Times included an excellent editorial on the Obama Adminstration’s new policy toward the state secrets privilege. Echoing EFF’s disappointment in the new procedures, the editorial explains:

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