February 2012

Court of Appeal Holds that Personnel Investigation Report is Subject to Disclosure

Attorney Authors: 

On January 24, 2012, the Court of Appeal ruled that a report of a personnel investigation was subject to public disclosure. In Marken, the Court ruled that, under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), public interest in disclosure of a report of a personnel investigation finding a teacher had violated his employer's sexual harassment policy outweighed the teacher's privacy interests. 

Names of Officers Involved in Officer-Involved Shooting Must be Disclosed Absent Showing of Interests Served by Nondisclosure

On February 7, 2012, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District upheld a trial court’s decision that release of officers’ names involved in an officer-involved shooting did not amount to an unwarranted invasion of privacy. Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC ("the Times") submitted a request to the City of Long Beach under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) seeking the names of police officers involved in a 2010 officer-involved shooting in Long Beach, and the names of all officers involved in shootings in Long Beach for the preceding five years. The Long Beach Police Officers Association (LBPOA) brought an action against the City of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department and the Chief of Police seeking to enjoin disclosure of the names. In support of its request, LBPOA averred that a shooting review which takes place after an officer-involved shooting can lead to findings resulting in an internal affairs investigation. LBPOA also expressed safety concerns about releasing the names of shooting officers. The Times moved to intervene and filed an opposition.

Amount of Money Public Agency Willing to Pay For Real Property Is Permitted In Closed-Session

California's Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris, has issued an opinion which confirms that the real-estate-negotiations exception to the open meeting requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act permits discussion in closed session of:  (1)  the amount of consideration that the local agency is willing to pay or accepting exchange for the real property rights to be acquired or transferred in the particular transaction [the negotiator's authority regarding the price]; (2) the form, manner, and timing of how that consideration will be paid; and (3)  items that are essential to arriving at the authorized price and payment terms, such that their public disclosure would be tantamount to revealing the information that the exception permits to be kept confidential [the negotiator's authority regarding the terms of payment].

Cite: 2011DJDAR 18488, Filed December 27, 2011