Agency Settlements (Baltimore City Law Department)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Baltimore City Law Department of Baltimore, MD .
Multi Request Agency Settlements
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to Maryland's Public Information Act ("PIA"), I hereby request the following records:

Absolutely any and all logs, reports, spreadsheets, databases, or other materials detailing all settlements or similar dispute resolutions to which this agency, or any division thereof, was a party, including, but not limited to, all conciliatory agreements related to complaints or court or legal proceedings against any representative of or office of this agency. Please include all available segregable data, including the entities involved, the date on which the initial complaint or court action was brought, the nature of the charge or complaint, the nature of the dispute resolution (i.e. in-court, out-of-court, in-agency mediation, third-party, etc.), any financial agreements associated with the settlement, and the date on which the case was closed.

Please provide all available materials from January 1, 2010 through October 31, 2017.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Beryl Lipton

From: Muckrock Staff

To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following request, copied below. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Baltimore City Law Department

Ms. Lipton -

The Law Department is in receipt of your request, below. Maryland's Public Information Act ("PIA"), codified in Section 4-101, et. seq. of the General Provisions Article of the Maryland Code governs your request.

Materials detailing settlements or similar disputes related to court or legal proceedings are attorney-work product, the "mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation." A.C. v. Office of the Attorney General, No. 791, Sept. Term, 2016, *19 (February 13, 2018) (unreported)(citing E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co. v. Forma-Pack, Inc., 351 Md. 396, 408 (1998) and Maryland Rule 2-402(c)). As such, the documents will not be disclosed pursuant to PIA Sections 4-343 and 4-344.
Selective redaction of these deliberative documents would not work because there is no part that can be severed that would not disclose the deliberations that lead to the formulating of government decisions. As Maryland's highest court has recognized, a document cannot be parsed into "reasonably severable" portions when such parsing would "violate the substance of the exemption" asserted. Glass v. Anne Arundel County, 453 Md. 201, 244 (2017).

As to the second part of your request for all available segregable data, the Law Department does not have an existing record that captures this data in this form. Md. Code, Gen. Prov., § 4-205(c). A request under the PIA must be for existing documentary material. Md. Code, Gen. Prov., §§ 4-101(j)(1; 4-205(c)(4)(i) (no requirement for "custodian to create, compile, or program a new public record"); 4-202(d)(1); see Maryland Public Information Act Manual 14th Ed., October 2015, 2-3 ("an agency has no obligation to create records to satisfy a PIA request."). Maryland Courts are clear that documents search under PIA requests be done in the same way a record custodian would search and compile records in the normal course. Comptroller of the Treasury v. Immanuel, 216 Md. App. 259, 271 (2014).

Nothing in this response is intended to indicate that any records sought from City agencies exist or to waive any privileges held by the Mayor and City Council. You may contest this response by filing a complaint in Circuit Court pursuant to PIA. Section 4-362.

Truly yours,

Christina Donald

[cid:image001.png@01D5F796.158F5E10]<http://www.baltimorecity.gov/>
Department of Law
Christina Donald
MPIA, Legal Advice & Opinions
Baltimore City Department of Law
100 N. Holliday Street, Suite 101
Baltimore, MD 21202
Christina.Donald@baltimorecity.gov<mailto:Christina.Donald@baltimorecity.gov>
Office: (410) 396-3937
Fax: (410) 396-1457

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