August 3, 2102
Re: Request to view public records
Dear Ms. Aguilar,
Pursuant to the rights afforded me under State laws, commonly referred to as the Brown Act and California Public Records Act, I seek to view the following public records held by your agency:
1. All invoices or other form of billing statements submitted by Colantuono & Levin to the City between September 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.
2. Any invoices submitted by Colantuono & Levin to the city for services provided, or expenses incurred, which were provided by the firm to the City between September 15, 2011 and September 30, 2011.
3. Any and all payments made by the City to Colantuono & Levin, or any other law firm or attorney, between September 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.
Once the requested records are available, simply contact me so that we can arrange a time which is convenient for staff for me to stop into City Hall and view the records. If I can provide any additional information which would assist staff in locating the requested records, do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely, Gil Aguirre
(Mod: Ten or so days later the following was issued by the City of Sierra Madre:)
August 13, 2012
Dear Mr. Aguirre:
On August 13, 2012 the City of Sierra Madre received your request for Public Records, pursuant to the California Public records Act, Government Code Section 6250 et seq.
You requested the following records:
(Mod: these are the same three items detailed in Mr. Aguirre's request above.)
Pursuant to Government Code Section 6253(c) this letter serves as a formal response to your request and noting that I am responsible for this determination. I am including the information that can be disclosed and for which we have records.
The documents for items 1 to 3 will be available for your review on or after August 16, 2012. The invoices and billing statements are attorney client privileged documents and cannot be released, unless redacted. Information, other than the dates, times spent and total billed, will be redacted.
You may contact the City Manager's office at (626) 355-7135 to arrange a time that is convenient for you to review the records. Copies of records can be provided at a cost of 6 cents per page.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
(Mod: Upon receipt of Elaine's letter, Gil replied ..)
August 14, 2012
Re: August 13th City response to public records request
Dear Ms. Aguilar,
Thank you for your August 13, 2012 determination regarding my original August 3rd request to view public records.
I must take exception to your determination that "the invoices and billing statements are attorney client privileged documents and cannot be released, unless redacted." You indicate that the City intends on redacting all information other than "the dates, times spent and total billed."
I would suggest to you that courts have found that legal billings are protected by the attorney client privilege only to the extent that they contain confidential information communicated by the client or the legal opinions, theories or conclusions of the attorneys. The courts have also held that the identity of the client, the amount of the fee, the identification of payment by case file name and the general purpose of the work performed are usually not protected from disclosure by the attorney client privilege. Therefore, redaction of this type of information is unacceptable.
I would ask that you reconsider your determination in this regard and notify me of your decision. Once I hear back from you, I will make arrangements to come into the City to view the records at a time that is convenient for staff.
Sincerely, Gil Aguirre
(Several days of silence later ..)
Friday, August 17, 2012 3:45 PM
Please inform me if the City has reconsidered its determination and if the requested records are available for viewing.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
(35 minutes pass, and then ..)
Friday, August 17, 2012 4:20 PM
Hello Mr. Aguirre,
As previously advised, I will make redacted copies of the legal invoices you requested available. Information that is either attorney-work product or attorney-client privileged will be redacted; this means that any invoices regarding litigation matters will contain only the dates, time spent and the amount billed. For non-litigation matters, any description of the work which does not touch on attorney-work product or confidential attorney-client privileged matters will not be redacted. In addition, unredacted monthly summaries of the work performed and cost for each work category are public record documents and are available for your review without redaction.
We are in the process of reviewing the actual invoices for confidential matters and anticipate that the appropriately redacted invoices, along with the unredacted monthly summaries, will be available for your review after August 22nd.
Sincerely, Elaine Aguilar
(Mod: That is where things stand at this time. More information will be posted here as it becomes available.)