Thursday, January 14, 2016

Protective Order End-Around

Caldecott v. Superior Court, No. G051917 (D4d3 Dec. 18, 2015)

This is mostly a Public Records Act case, but it does make an interesting point about civil procedure. It also provides a useful tactical option. Plaintiff got some hot docs in discovery. He wants to publicly disclose them to blow the whistle on defendant, a school board. But he can’t because there’s a protective order limiting their use to the litigation. So he serves a PRA demand on the District, in order to obtain the docs outside of discovery. The court here holds that’s fine. The identity of the requester or his motives has no bearing on a PRA request. Either the docs are subject to an exemption or they aren’t. That a requester might intend to publicly disseminate the documents is not a legitimate reason to refuse to produce them. Indeed, that is the whole point of the PRA.

Writ granted.

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