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California Public Records Act: Who Pays Attorney Fees and When in ‘Reverse’ Actions?

A California Court of Appeal recently decided an important case that involved complicated issues relating to which party in a “reverse CPRA”* lawsuit pays attorneys’ fees. In Pasadena Police Officers Association v. City of Pasadena, (2018 DJDAR 3242, April 16, 2018), the court found that a party which prevailed against a public agency’s partial redaction of a document and against a private party seeking to block release of the overall document could recover attorneys’ fees from both the public agency and the private party, but under different legal theories.

Ruthann G. Zielger, Principal and Chair of Meyers Nave’s California Public Records Act Practice, published an article in the Daily Journal to help explain a case that adds another factor to consider when public agencies find themselves between one party that demands the release of records and another party that demands the records not be released. Please click here to read Ruthann’s article.

*A “reverse CPRA” action involves litigation among the party requesting records from a public agency, the public agency holding the records, and the party who is the subject of the records. The public agency receives the records demand from the requestor; the subject receives notice from the public agency that the agency intends to release records relating to the subject and the subject, in turn, sues the public agency to block the release of the records. The requestor often intervenes in the lawsuit to demand that the records be released.