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City Attorney won't say who who's claiming Attorney Client Privilege - Public Records Request

Discussion in 'Other Governmental Matters' started by Wbqr, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. Wbqr

    Wbqr Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    California
    I made a Public Records Request asking for the contract between the City of Santa Clara Library and their collections agency, Unique National Collections. I was given 150 pages, and 97 pages were withheld by the city attorney, who claimed Attorney-Client privilege. The 97 pages included every document generated by the city attorney's office regarding the contract.

    I made a second Public Records Request asking (1) how many separate privileged documents were in those 97 pages, and (2) who or what agency was claiming privilege for each document?

    The city attorney effectively said that it was not public information who was claiming privilege over the documents. He cited Haynie v. Superior Court (2001) 26 Cal.4th 1061.

    In Haynie, the judge concluded that a city doesn't have to give a "log of the documents" for what's withheld. What I wanted to know was--who is asserting privilege. There's a world of difference between a "log of documents" and a "log of who's claiming privilege over documents."

    Some of the documents may be briefings to library staff, widely circulated emails within the library, or cases where Attorney-client privilege technically is forfeited. But there's no way to know as long as everything about the documents is secret. Does the city attorney legally need to answer my two questions, above?

    Thanks.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If the city attorney, or anyone for that matter declines to answer your questions, only a court can order them to do otherwise.

    If I were to bet a dollar on the outcome in your situation, I'd bet my buck on the city attorney.

    Fortunately, we just don't have submit to the whims of others.
     
  3. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    I'm curious ... what information do you believe is in those 97 pages that is relevant to whatever it is you are looking in to? If you are looking into the details of the financial arrangements between the library system and the collections agency, it appears you have that.
     
  4. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    The attorney is the one who invokes privilege. If the document was generated by the attorney, to their client, then yes, that is privileged. I can not imagine why you would even think you would need that, but it is not a matter of public record. Nor must they disclose how many emails or communications are contained in that record. That is not public information either.
     

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