Discovery Permitted in Public Records Act Litigation

In California, the Public Records Act allows citizens to request that the government produce documents relating to the operation of the government. When the government and the citizen have a dispute on whether the government has complied, a citizen can file a lawsuit to compel the government to produce the requested documents. This is known as Public Records Act litigation. This month, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a party in Public Records Act litigation can use the discovery process under the California Discovery Act.  The case is City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (March 2, 2017 No. B269525).  This is a significant decision because no longer will a citizen have to accept the government’s word regarding the existence and location of public records. Discovery can now be used to assess and verify the government’s position in responding to Public Record Act requests.