Today's Law As Amended


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SB-657 California Public Records Act: reverse public records actions.(2017-2018)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 6259.5 is added to the Government Code, to read:

6259.5.
 (a) In a reverse public records action, the following requirements apply:
(1) The court shall apply the provisions of this chapter as if the action had been initiated by a person requesting disclosure of a public record.
(2) The requestor shall be named as a real party of interest in the proceeding, and the person who initiated the reverse public records action shall serve a copy of any pleading on the requestor. If the person who initiated the action does not provide the court with proof of service upon the requestor, the court shall not award any relief in that action until the person who initiated the action provides proof of service to the court.
(3) If the requestor wishes, the court shall allow the requestor to be heard on the merits of the reverse public records action.
(4) A person who files a reverse public records action shall label the action as such on the first page of the pleadings.
(b) (1) In a reverse public records action, if the court orders the public agency to disclose the record that is at issue the court shall order the person who initiated the reverse public records action to pay court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the requestor. If the court finds that the public agency had delayed disclosure to facilitate the filing of the reverse public records action, the court may order the public entity to pay court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the requestor.
(2) In a reverse public records action, if the court orders the public agency to not disclose the record that is at issue the court shall not order the requestor to pay court costs and reasonable attorney fee’s to the third party who filed the reverse public records action or to the public agency. In that instance, the court shall, within 10 days of the hearing in which the court made that decision, issue a statement of opinion, pursuant to Section 632 of the Code of Civil Procedure, explaining the factual and legal basis for its decision that the public agency shall not disclose the record pursuant to this chapter.
(c) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Requestor” means the person who originally requested the record that is the subject of the reverse public records action.
(2) “Reverse public records action” means a petition for declaratory or injunctive relief filed by a third party that requests a court to enjoin a decision by a public agency to disclose a public record in response to a request by a requestor.