Monday, September 19, 2005

Newspaper access to litigation documents

[CASE] The San Diego Union-Tribune used California's Public Records Act to seek documents from litigation between former athletic department employees and San Diego State University. The trial court granted the request; on review, the Court of Appeals last week set aside part of the order but left in place the part compelling disclosure of deposition transcripts. Board of Trustees of California State University v. Superior Court, --- Cal. Rptr. 3d ---, 2005 WL 2219693 (Sept. 14, 2005), Find Result - 2005 WL 2219693.

  • Does the Public Records Act's exemption of documents from pending litigation apply to correspondence between opposing counsel? Yes. The lower court's order compelling disclosure of some correspondence is set aside.
  • Does it apply to depositions? No. The depositions are available to the public anyway under another statute (absent a protective order), so the parties have no expectation that they would remain private during litigation.
  • Must trial judge conduct an in camera inspection before ordering disclosure of the document? No.
The most recent article I found in the newspaper (in an admittedly quick search) was from July 3: Trainer says Aztecs dump urine samples taken for drug screens.

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