State Records Committee Appeal 98-07
WILLIAM T. JACOB, Appellant, vs.
AMERICAN FORK CITY, Appellee.
DECISION AND ORDER
Case No. 98-07
Appellant, William T. Jacob, sought an order requiring Appellee to supply "court records, which are under the direction and control of the City." In order to clarify the records at issue, a telephone conference was held on July 7, 1998 among Acting Chair Betsy Ross, Appellant Mr. Jacob, and Ms. Kristin Van Orman, representing the City. By the time of the hearing on July 29, 1998, the documents at issue had been narrowed to include 92 items listed by the City on an "Index of Documents Not Produced By American Fork City," Answers to Interrogatories, documents concerning any Rule 408 Settlement Negotiations, and three records from the City's pleading files that Appellant claimed not to have received. At the hearing on July 29, all items were disposed of with the exception of the 92 items listed by the City on the aforementioned Index, and including records concerning Rule 408 Settlement Negotiations. These items were claimed by the City to be protected. The July 29 hearing was continued to August 10, 1998 to deal with these remaining records.
The list of 92 records was clarified in the "Revised Index of Documents Not Produced by American Fork City" attached to American Fork City's Memorandum dated August 3, 1998. The number of records in issue was reduced by stipulation at the hearing, still leaving in issue a number of documents claimed by Appellee to be "protected."
At the August 10, 1998 hearing, Appellant appeared in his own behalf and through David T. Aagard, Esq., and presented documentation, witnesses and argument. Appellee was represented by Kristin Van Orman, Esq., attorney for American Fork City, and presented documentation, witnesses and argument. The State Records Committee, having reviewed the written materials submitted by the parties and having heard testimony, argument and public comment, now issues the following decision and order:
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
The appeal is granted in part and denied in part. Of the documents remaining in issue at the August 10 hearing, a number were communications between Appellee and its attorney, and were claimed protected under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(18) (1987) as "records of communications between a governmental entity and an attorney" of the governmental entity. These records are hereby held to be protected under the indicated subsection.
One record (No. 26) was claimed to be protected as attorney work product under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(17) (1997). The Committee, having examined this document in camera, determines it to be covered by subsection (17) and properly classified as "protected."
A number of records were withheld as "records that would reveal the contents of settlement negotiations" under subsection (33). Of these, the Committee determines, after examination of each document in camera, that some are properly protected under subsection (33) and some are not. Those items on the revised list the Committee determines properly classified as "protected" are Items Nos. 11, 14, 17, 18, 27, 30, 31, 32, 51, 82 and 92. Those items the Committee determines are not properly classified as "protected" and hence are public under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201 are Items Nos. 10, 38 (with memorandum), 47, 48 and 53.
WHEREFORE, it is ordered the Appellant's request for access to the described records is granted in part and denied in part, as indicated above.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to District Court. The petition for review must be filed no later than thirty (30) days after the date of this Order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals precess and governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404 (1997) and 63-2-502(7) (1997). The Court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights of appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Entered this 14th day of August, 1998.
Betsy L. Ross, Acting Chair
State Records Committee