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Prison Legal News v. Tilton, CA, Complaint, CDCR Public Records, 2008

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ROSEN, BIEN & GALVAN, LLP
Sanford Jay Rosen, Bar No. 62566
Amy Whelan, Bar No. 215675
Lon Rifkin, BarNo. 244081
KennethM. Walczak, BarNo. 247389
315 Mont~omery Street, 10th Floor
San FranCI$CO, CA 94104
TelelJhone: (415) 433-6830
FacsImile: (415) 433-7104

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Attorneys for Plaintiff

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IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

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FOR THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO

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PRISON LEGAL NEWS,

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Plaintiff,

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vs.

VERIFIED PETITION FOR
INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY
RELIEF

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JAMES TILTON, Secretary, California
Department of Corrections and. Rehabilitation,

California Public Records Act,
Government Code §§ 6250, etseq.

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Defendant.

Judge:
Department: _.

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19.
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BY FAX

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VERIFIED PETITION FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF, Case No. _ _~_ _

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For its petition pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code, §§ 6250 et seq.),
plaintiff hereby alleges:

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PARTIES
1.

Plaintiff PRISON LEGAL NEWS ("PLN") is a non-profit organization, responsible

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for the publication of a serious legal and political journal that reports on news and litigation involving

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detention facilities. It is a "person" and a "member of the public" within the meaning of Government

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Code §§ 6252(c) and 6259(a).

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2.

Defendant JAMES TILTON is the Secretary of the California D~partment of

Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Defendant Tilton is sued in his official capacity.
3.

CDCR is a "state agency," within the meaning of the California Public Records Act

Government Code § 6252(a).
JURISDICTION AND VENUE

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4.

Venue is appropriate in this Court, because plaintiff may "institute proceedings for

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injunctive or declarative relief or writ of mandate in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce his

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or her right to inspect or to receive a copy of any public record or class of public records."

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Government Code § 6258.

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FACTS
5.

PLN publishes a monthly magazine, "Prison Legal News," and also distributes books

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and other materials pertaining to the legal rights of prisoners and the conditions affecting them. PLN is

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comprised of writings from legal scholars, attorneys, inmates and news wire services. PLN has

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approximately 7,000 subscribers in the United States and abroad, including subscribers in prisons in all

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50 states. Approximately eighty (80) percent of PLN subscribers are state and federal prisoners,

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including prisoners in the CDCR custody. CDCR prisoners constitute approximately twenty (20)

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percent ofPLN's prisoner subscribers. The purpose ofPLN, as stated in its Articles of Incorporation,

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Article III, Part 6 is "to educate prisoners and the public about the destructive nature of racism, sexism,

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and the economic and social costs of prisons to society."

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6.

On November 9,2007, plaintiff, through its attorneys, sent a Public Records Act request

pursuant to California Government Code §§ 6250, et seq., to DefendantTilton. The letter, attached

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VERIFIED PETITION FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF, Case No.

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hereto as Exhibit A, included two requests for specific documents relating to tort, overdetention, and

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civil rights claims filed against CDCR. The documents requested are "public records" within the

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meaning of Government Code § 6252(e). The request stated that the Public Records Act required a

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response within 10 days of the request.

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Plaintiff did not receive a response within the ten days required by the Public Records

Act, California Government Code §§ 6256 and 6256.2.
8.

To date, Plaintiff has received no response of any kind to its November 9, 2007 request.

FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF (California Public Records Act)

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9.

Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference each and every allegation of

paragraphs· 1 through 9.
10.

The requested documents and information consist of "public records" within the

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meaning of Government Code § 6252(e), and such records are within the possession, custody or

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control of the defendant.

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11.

The documents and information requested are not exempt from public disclosure.

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12.

Plaintiff has the right to inspect and obtain copies of the information and documents

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requested. Gov. Code §§ 6253(a) and (b).
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' "Public records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or

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local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record," except those within the Act's

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specifically enumerated exceptions. Gov. Code § 6253(a).

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14.

Upon receipt of a Public Records Act Request, an official such as defendant Tilton

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"shall, within 10 days from receipt of the request, determine whether the request, in whole or in part,

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seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the

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person makingthe request of the determination and the reasons therefor." Gov. Code § 6253(c).

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15.

Defendant was obligated "upon a request for a copy of records that reasonably describes

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an identifiable record or records, [to] make the records promptly available to any person ...." Gov.

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Code § 6253(b).

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VERIFIED PETITION FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF, Case No.

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16.

Defendant has failed to comply with Government Code § 6253(c). Defendant did not

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make any determination within 10 days, and did not promptly notify plaintiff or its attorneys of such a

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determination and the reasons therefor.

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Defendant has failed to make the records "promptly available" as required by

Government Code § 6253(b).
18.

The records requested, as set forth in Exhibit A, are being withheld from plaintiff by

defendant in violation of the California Public Records Act, Government Code §§ 6250, et seq.

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PRAYER FOR RELIEF
Wherefore plaintiff respectfully prays, pursuant to Government Code § 6259:
1.

For an order requiring defendant to disclose the records requested, or an order to show

cause why he should not be required to do so.

2.

For a declaratory judgment declaring that the requested records are public records

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within the meaning of the provisions of the California Public Records Act, and are not exempt from

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public disclosure.

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3.

For an injunction requiring defendant immediately to permit the inspection and to

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provide electronic copies of the requested records and documents to the plaintiff, with costs of

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production to be borne by defendant.

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4.

For an order awarding plaintiff its costs of suit and reasonable attorneys' fees pursuant

to Government Code § 6259 (d) and Code of Civil Procedure § 1021.5.

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For such further relief as this court deems proper.

Dated: December 18, 2007

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Attorneys for Prison Legal News

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VERIFIED PETITION FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF, Case No. _ _~

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ATTORNEY VERIFICATION

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I, SANFORD JAY ROSEN, declare that:

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1. I am the attorney of record for plaintiff;

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2. The plaintiff is absent from the county (San Francisco) where I have my office;

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3. I have read the foregoing VERIFIED PETITION FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY

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RELIEF, and know the contents thereof;

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4. I am informed and believe, and thereupon allege, that the matters stated therein are true.

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I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is

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true and correct and that this verification was executed this 18th day of December 2007, in San

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Francisco, California.

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VERIFIED PETITION FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF, Case No.

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Exhibit A

ROSEN, BIEN & GALVAN, LLP

SANFORD JAY ROSEN'
MICHAEL W. BLEN
ERNEST GALVAN

ATTORNEYS AT LAW
315 MONTGOMERY STREET, TENTH FLOOR
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94 I04
TELEPHONE: (415) 433-6830
FAX: (415) 433-7104
EMAIL: rbg@rbg-Iaw.com

JANE KAHN'

HOLLY BALDWIN
LISA ELLS
GAY C. GRUNFELD
SHIRLEY HUEyJ
MEGHANLANG
SARAH LAUBACH
ANNE MANIA
NURA MAZNAVI
MARIA MORRIS 4
THOMAS NOLAN
LORI RIFKIN'
LOREN STEWART
KENNETH WALCZAK"
AMY WHELAN
SARAH OLSON ZIMMERMAN"

November 9, 2007
VIA U.S. MAIL

James Tilton, Secretary
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
1515 S Street, Suite 502
Sacramento, CA 94283
Re:

California Public Records Act Request, Cal. Gov't Code §§ 6250, et seq.
Our File No. 979-5

Dear Secretary Tilton:
This is a request on behalf of our client, Prison Legal News ("PLN"), pursuant to the
California Public Records Act (California Government Code §§ 6250, et seq.) for copies of
public records in the possession of the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation ("CDCR").
Our request encompasses all the documents within the definition of the term "writing"
as used in Cal. Gov't Code § 6252(g), including but not limited to all the specific documents
listed below.
Specifically, we request:
1. All documents relating to the payment of tort, overdetention, and civil rights claims to
claimants including, but not limited to, employees, visitors, contractors, and prisoners,
and/or their attorneys, pursuant to judgments and/or settlements by CDCR (on behalf
of itself and all of the branches, divisions, units, offices, and institutions under its
control, or their agents), during the time period from January 1,2002 to present. Such
documents include but are not limited to:
a. documents stating or pertaining to the legal claim that forms the basis for each
judgment and/or settlement;
b. for each judgment and/or settlement, the most recent complaint detailing the
legal demand;
c. for eachjudgment and/or settlement, any case management order detailing the
legal demand;
IMEMBER OF THE CONNECTICUT AND THE CALIFORNIA BAR
'OF COUNSEL
JMEMBER OF THE WASHINGTON. D,C. AND THE CALIFORNIA BAR
4MEMBBR OF THE NEW YORl< AND THE CALIFORNIA BAR
'MEMBER OF THE CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK AND THE CALIFORNIA BAR
"MEMBER OF THE ILLINOIS AND THE CALIFORNIA BAR
(

James Tilton, Secretary, CDCR
Public Records Act Request
November 9, 2007
Page 2
d. all settlement agreements, and documents related to disbursement;
e. any record of the imposition of sanctions by a court, and payment thereof;

f.

if payment was made pursuant to ajudgment, the jury verdict and/or findings
of fact and conclusions of law forming the basis for the judgment; and

g. any and all records of payment to plaintiffs, counsel, court officers, experts,
Receivers, and/or Special Masters.
2. All documents relating to the costs CDCR has incurred on behalf of itself and all of
the branches, divisions, units, offices, and institutions under its control, or their
agents, in defense against tort and overdetention claims by claimants or litigants other
than CDCR employees during tl].e time period from January 1,2002 to present.
The California Public Records Act requires determination of whether these records
may be disclosed, and specific reasons why any material requested, or portions thereof, are
exempt from disclosure, within ten days from receipt of this request. It also requires that
CDCR promptly notify us of this determination, and of the estimated date and time when the
records will be produced. In accordance with CaL Gov't Code § 6253(c), we expect your
response no later than November 20, 2007.
PLN is a 501[c](3) non-profit organization, responsible fOf the publication ofa
serious legal and political journal that reports on news and litigation involving detention
facilities. We request production of these documents in electronic format whenever
available, pursuant to Cal. Gov't Code § 6253.9. Wherever copying costs must be incurred,
we request a waiver of these costs pursuant to the discretion conferred by CaL Gov't Code §
6253.1. See North County Parents Org. v. Dept. ofEducation, 23 CaLAppAth 144, 148
(1994) (ability to reduce fees inherent in power to "allow greater access to records").; cf
Prison Legal News v. Lappin, 436 F.S1J.pp.2d 17 (D. D.C-) 2006) (granting fee waiver for
records request under Freedom ofInformation Act).
If you have any questions regarding this request, please feel free to contact me at 415433-6830. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Sincerely yours,
ROSEN, BIEN & GALVAN, LLP

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By: Kenneth Walczak
cc: Paul Wright (via e-mail)



 

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