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California Municipal Law Blog

New Public Records Case Holds that Mistaken Release of Privileged Documents Does Not Waive Privilege

by on August 10, 2015

posted in Public Records Act, Recent Court Decisions,

When an agency mistakenly releases privileged documents in response to a Public Records Act (“PRA”) request, it does not waive the privilege it possesses in those documents.  So ruled the San Francisco-Based First District Court of Appeal on July 31, 2015 in Newark Unified School District v. Superior Court.  The court’s ruling contradicts the December 2014 holding of the Los-Angeles Based Second District Court of Appeal in Ardon v. City of Los Angeles.  That court held that once privileged documents are released, agencies effectively waive any privilege attached to them, and cannot demand ... Continue Reading

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tags: Ardon v. Los Angeles, Attorney-Client Privilege, California Supreme Court, Mistaken Disclosure, Newark Unified School District, Public Records Act,

Court Holds Mistaken Agenda Reference Does Not Prevent Holding of Closed Session

by on July 27, 2015

posted in Meetings, Recent Court Decisions,

What happens when a meeting agenda refers to the wrong legal authority for a closed-session item an agency considers?  If it’s clear to the public what action the agency may take, there is no Brown Act violation.  According to a recent court opinion, which dismissed a lawsuit as “hypertechnical,” a mistaken code reference used to describe a closed-session item does not prevent the agency from acting.  (Castaic Lake Water Agency v. Newhall County Water District, published July 22, 2015.)  ... Continue Reading

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tags: Agendas, Brown Act, Closed Sessions, Initiation of Litigation,

Court Clarifies Duties of Police, City Attorneys, District Attorneys for Pitchess Discovery Motions

by on July 20, 2015

posted in Law Enforcement, Pitchess Motions,

The California Supreme Court has resolved questions that have arisen among police departments, city attorneys and district attorneys about their obligations to respond to criminal discovery requirements under the landmark decisions of Brady v. Maryland and Pitchess v. Superior Court. The Brady case, generally, requires the prosecution to disclose material evidence that is favorable to the criminal defendant.  Pitchess holds that peace officers are entitled to a measure of privacy, and that their personnel records can only be examined and disclosed after the filing of a “Pitchess motion”.  ... Continue Reading

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tags: Brady v. Maryland, Criminal Discovery, District Attorney, Pitchess Motions, Pitchess v. Superior Court,

Legislature Amends Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014

by on July 14, 2015

posted in Employee Benefits, Sick Leave,

Governor Brown, on July 13 signed AB 304 into law thereby amending the Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (the California Paid Sick Leave law).  The changes address needed clarifications in the original text of the law and implement some significant changes.  These are immediately effective as the law contains an urgency clause. The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act requires employers to provide a limited amount of paid sick leave for most employees in California.  Our earlier post that provides details of the original Act can be read here.  ... Continue Reading

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tags: ab 304, healthy workplaces healthy families act, PEPRA, public employment retirement law, Sick Leave,

State Commission Finds that Brown Act’s “Serial Meeting” Prohibition May Impede Good Government

by on July 13, 2015

posted in Meetings,

Does the Brown Act sometimes get in the way of good government?  According to the Little Hoover Commission, a think-tank agency that studies the performance of state government, the answer is yes.  After comprehensively studying how the Brown Act regulates “serial meetings”—discussions that occur among more than two council or board members outside of a noticed public meeting—the Commission has published a report that finds that Act’s serial-meeting provisions may be impeding effective decision-making. The Commission’s findings are interesting and, in this author’s opinion, probably ... Continue Reading

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tags: Brown Act, Little Hoover Commission, Report, Serial Meetings, Wolfe v City of Fremont,

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