PUBLISHED: August 2015
In July, CSBA’s Education Legal Alliance filed an amicus brief in City of San Jose v. Superior Court with the California Supreme Court. This case concerns whether the California Public Records Act (CPRA) requires local governments to disclose communications that are not directly accessible to the local agency because they are sent or received via private electronic devices and are stored on private servers. The appellate court ruled, in part, that the CPRA did not require disclosure of such communications because the burden of retrieving such communications would be intrusive and extremely difficult to complete. The case is now before the California Supreme Court and the ELA is requesting that it uphold the appellate court’s decision. The ELA’s brief expounds on the practical impacts of expanding the CPRA to encompass communications like emails and texts sent or received by public officials via private electronic devices. Consider, for instance, the logistical challenge that LAUSD would face in collecting and searching thousands of private cell phones for texts or the financial impact that a single site school district might face from having to spend staff and/or attorney time going through years of private cell phone records. Thus, the ELA argues that the Legislature, rather than the courts, is best equipped to adapt the CPRA to modern technology. The case is fully briefed and the parties are awaiting oral argument, to be scheduled.