Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn. v. Board of Pilot Com.Annotate this Case
In 2012, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) petitioned the trial court for a writ of mandate compelling production of certain records, including “pilot logs,” held by the designated port agent of the Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun. The Port Agent, who also served as president of the San Francisco Bar Pilots (a private pilots’ organization) opposed the petition on the basis that the pilot logs were not public records subject to the CPRA. The trial court granted PMSA’s petition in part and ordered the Port Agent to disclose the pilot logs. The Port Agent, Bar Pilots, and the Board petitioned the Court of Appeal to overturn the order, and the Court held that, “while the Port Agent is, for at least certain purposes, a public officer, PMSA has not established that the requested [pilot logs] are subject to the [California Public Records Act] CPRA.” Following this holding, PMSA submitted a new records request to the Port Agent, and Port Agent produced more than 1,000 square feet of oversized documents. PMSA then filed a motion for attorney fees and costs in this case, contending it was the prevailing party. The trial court ordered the Port Agent to pay PMSA’s fees. Both the Port Agent and the Board appealed. After review, the Court of Appeal dismissed the Board’s appeal for lack of standing and affirmed the fee award against the Port Agent.