Court Recognizes “Reverse Public Records Act” Lawsuits (K-12)

On January 24, 2012, the California Court of Appeal, Second District, published its decision in Marken v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (Chwe) (2012) ___ Cal.App.4th ___, B231787. The court ruled for the first time that a person whose records are the subject of a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request may bring a lawsuit challenging the agency’s decision to release those records. The court also upheld a lower court’s decision ordering the release of records of a sexual harassment investigation of a teacher and the investigation’s findings. The case therefore changes how public agencies will have to handle public records requests seeking records relating to an identifiable official or employee.