National Lawyers Guild v. City of HaywardAnnotate this Case
The Guild served on the City requests for public records relating to a 2014 demonstration held to protest incidents of police violence toward private citizens, at which the Hayward Police Department provided security. The City provided copies over 200 public records, including more than six hours of police body camera videos from the demonstration, which had been redacted to exclude material exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act (Gov. Code 6250) on privacy or security grounds. City employees spent approximately 170 hours identifying, compiling, reviewing and redacting exempt portions from these videos, which required the use of specialized software with audio/video editing capabilities (Windows Movie Maker). The City sent the Guild an invoice for $2,939.58. The Guild paid under protest, then requested a second set of videos encompassing recordings from specific time periods. The City permitted the Guild to view the redacted videos without charge and offered to produce copies for $308.89. The Guild sought a refund of $2,939.58 and release of the second set of videos for “[no] more than the direct costs of production” then paid the second invoice under protest and received the videos. The court of appeal held that, based on the statutory language, the legislative history, and policy considerations, costs allowable under section 6253.9(b)(2) include the City’s actual expenditures to produce a copy of the video recordings, including the cost of extracting exempt material with the aid of special computer programming.