MacEwan v. Holm », 226 Or 27, 359 P2d 413 (1961).
This case, decided 12 years before enactment of the present Public Records Law, is nevertheless perhaps the leading case in terms of the approach the Oregon courts take with respect to the public’s “right to know.” The court stated the following:
Writings coming into the hands of public officers in connection with their official functions should generally be accessible to members of the public so that there will be an opportunity to determine whether those who have been entrusted with the affairs of government are honestly, faithfully and competently performing their function as public servants.* * *
And the public interest in making such writings accessible extends beyond the concern for the honest and efficient operation of public agencies. The [information] * * * may be sought by persons who propose to use it for their own personal gain. Thus they may wish to obtain names and addresses for use as a mailing list, or the record of transfers of property to conduct a title insurance plant.*** The data gathered by government are available to its citizens for such private purposes. * * *
In balancing the interests referred to above, the scales must reflect the fundamental right of a citizen to have access to public records as contrasted with the incidental right of the agency to be free from unreasonable interference. * * * [T]he burden is cast upon the agency to explain why the records sought should not be furnished.
In the particular case, the court held that records “in a raw or tentative state” preliminary to the making of a final report were subject to disclosure.
Turner v. Reed », 22 Or App 177, 538 P2d 373 (1975).
Plaintiff (former inmate) sought various prison and parole records related to his incarceration. The court held that the literal findings by the inmate’s prison psychiatrist and psychologist, as well as very personal information about the inmate’s marriage and family life, were exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.355(5) because they would substantially prejudice the Department of Corrections’ and the Parole Board’s functions, and the public interest in confidentiality clearly outweighed the public interest in disclosure. The court explained that trial testimony supported the idea that disclosure of a psychiatrist’s or psychologist’s literal findings (as opposed to summaries of those findings by laymen) could have a chilling effect on the candor of those reports; and Corrections had a legitimate and substantial interest in learning about an inmate’s family life in planning and implementing a rehabilitation program, while the public interest in disclosure of very personal information about the inmate was nonexistent or de minimis.
The court also held that the subjective portions of evaluations and recommendations (as opposed to the purely factual portions) to the Parole Board on whether to grant, deny, or revoke parole were exempt under ORS 192.355(1) as internal advisory communications. The court explained that disclosure of this information might make the records less candid and therefore less valuable to the board in making its difficult and often unpopular decisions.
However, the court held that records monitoring the requester’s public criticisms of the corrections system were not exempt as internal advisory communications because they were no different than the records already disclosed except that they contained information that would potentially embarrass public officials. The court also noted that many of these records were purely factual, and therefore not exempt as advisory communications.
Sadler v. Oregon State Bar », 275 Or 279, 550 P2d 1218 (1976).
The court held that State Bar records related to an attorney’s conduct were not exempt as confidential information under ORS 192.355(4) because the information was not submitted to the Bar in confidence and the Bar could not oblige itself in good faith not to disclose the information. There was no evidence in the record that any complainants submitted information only on the condition or with the understanding that the information would be kept confidential. And a Supreme Court rule provided that disciplinary records would become public under certain circumstances designed to protect the attorneys whose conduct was at issue, not the complainants.
The court also held that the Public Records Law did not violate the constitutional separation of powers because it did not unreasonably encroach upon the judicial function of disciplining lawyers. The Public Records Law did not affect the Bar’s rules for admitting, suspending, or disbarring attorneys, and affected the Bar’s disciplinary process only by making records available to the public.
Jensen v. Schiffman », 24 Or App 11, 544 P2d 1048 (1976).
The court rejected both the requester’s position that all investigatory information compiled for criminal law purposes was no longer exempt under ORS 192.345(3) once the criminal proceeding ended, and the district attorney’s position that this information was permanently exempt.
Instead, the court explained that “investigations connected with pending or contemplated proceedings w[ould] ordinarily remain secret because disclosure would likely ‘interfere with enforcement proceedings,’” while “investigations not connected with pending or contemplated proceedings w[ould] remain secret only” upon a showing that disclosure would cause certain negative consequences.
The court remanded the case so that the trial court could apply this standard, but noted that if the district attorney continued to rely only on the report itself as evidence of the exemption, the report would not be exempt from disclosure as the criminal proceeding had concluded and no negative consequences from disclosure were apparent.
Morrison v. School District No. 48 », 53 Or App 148, 631 P2d 784 (1981).
The court held that the school district’s substitute teacher roster was not exempt as confidential information under ORS 192.355(4) because the teachers’ names had not been submitted in confidence. Even though the school district had, in response to the records request, surveyed the teachers on whether their names should be kept confidential, the court explained that the district did not establish that the information had been submitted in confidence at the outset. The court also held that the roster was not exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2), but note that later cases abandoned the definition of “information of a personal nature” used by the court here.
Lane County School District No. 4J v. Parks », 55 Or App 416, 637 P2d 1383 (1981).
The court held that the school district’s substitute teacher roster (and other related records) were not exempt under ORS 192.345(1) as litigation records. The court explained that this exemption applied only “when the records contain information compiled or acquired by the public body for use in ongoing litigation * * * or when such litigation ‘is reasonably likely to occur.’” Even though the trial court found that disclosure might reveal a cause of action against the district and would materially assist the plaintiffs in that action, the records were not compiled because of the litigation.
Kotulski v. Mt. Hood Community College », 62 Or App 452, 660 P2d 1083 (1983).
The court held that addresses of the college’s part-time faculty were not exempt as confidential information under ORS 192.355(4) . Even though the college produced evidence that it treated these addresses as confidential, the court explained that the college had not shown that the faculty submitted the information in confidence; for example, applicants for these positions were not told that their addresses would be kept confidential. The court also held that the addresses were not exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2); however, the court relied on a definition of “information of a personal nature” no longer in use.
Smith v. School District No. 45 », 63 Or App 685, 666 P2d 1345 (1983).
The court held that the requester’s right of access to public records was not dependent on need or motivation and that the school district could not refuse to produce nonexempt records just because the requester already possessed them.
The court also held that the requester was entitled to attorney fees even though the records were provided before trial, but that the pretrial production should be taken into account in determining the amount of the fees.
Pace Consultants, Inc. v. Roberts », 297 Or 590, 687 P2d 779 (1984).
The court held that names and addresses of employers against whom unlawful employment practice complaints were pending were not exempt under ORS 192.345(8) as investigatory information relating to a complaint. The court explained that the ordinary meaning of the exemption distinguished between the (nonexempt) initial complaint and the (exempt) subsequent investigation, and that the statutory process for receiving and resolving such complaints supported that distinction.
Bay Area Health District v. Griffin », 73 Or App 294, 698 P2d 977 (1985).
The court held that a consultant’s subjective observations and recommendations on hospital staffing levels were not exempt as internal advisory communications under ORS 192.355(1). The court explained that the portions of the consultant’s report at issue resulted from existing factual data, not from frank communications with hospital staff, and that therefore the public interest in nondisclosure did not clearly outweigh the public interest in disclosure.
Portland Adventist Medical Center v. Sheffield », 303 Or 197, 735 P2d 371 (1987).
The court held that Multnomah County was justified in refusing to promise confidentiality of information submitted by the medical center. The court explained that no specific authority provided for the confidentiality of the information and that even if the information were exempt as a trade secret under ORS 192.345(2), the county still had discretion to disclose.
Coos County v. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife », 86 Or App 168, 739 P2d 47 (1987).
The court held that ODFW biologists’ responses to a questionnaire on the effectiveness of a state law were not exempt as internal advisory communications under ORS 192.355(1). The court dismissed ODFW’s argument that disclosure would have a chilling effect on the free flow of information and opinions within the agency, noting that a chilling effect based on potential embarrassment to the agency and its employees was not sufficient on its own to overcome the presumption favoring disclosure. The court added that disclosing a summary of the requested records to the county did not affect the analysis of the competing interests in disclosure and nondisclosure.
State ex rel. Frohnmayer v. Oregon State Bar », 307 Or 304, 767 P2d 893 (1989), aff’g 91 Or App 690 », 756 P2d 689 (1988).
The court held that the Attorney General’s role in reviewing the State Bar’s denial of a public records request did not violate the constitutional separation of powers. The court explained that in enforcing the Public Records Law, the Attorney General did not exercise judicial power, perform a judicial function, or alter the rules governing the admission, suspension, or disbarment of attorneys. The court similarly held that requiring the Bar to process a records request from an attorney subject to pending disciplinary action did not violate the Oregon Constitution by burdening or unduly interfering with the administration of the disciplinary rules. The court also held that the Bar was a “state agency” under ORS 192.311(6), signifying that the Attorney General, rather than the local district attorney, had the authority to review the Bar’s denial of the records request.
City of Portland v. Rice », 308 Or 118, 775 P2d 1371 (1989), aff’g 94 Or App 292 » (1988).
The court held that an internal investigation of police officers that did not result in any disciplinary action was not exempt from disclosure as a personnel discipline action under ORS 192.345(12). The court explained that the exemption’s plain meaning and context indicated that a “discipline action” referred to the imposition of a sanction, not to the disciplinary process that resulted in no sanction.
Jordan v. Motor Vehicles Division », 308 Or 433, 781 P2d 1203 (1989), aff’g 93 Or App 651 » (1988).
The court held that an individual’s home address contained in vehicle registration records was exempt from disclosure under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2). Disclosure of the address would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy because it would allow the requester to harass the individual to an extent that an ordinary reasonable person would find highly offensive: the individual had explained that in response to the requester’s harassment, she used an unlisted phone number and PO Box, did not keep utilities under her name, and rescheduled her day-to-day activities. The requester had not introduced any evidence showing that the public interest required disclosure by clear and convincing evidence.
Guard Publishing Co. v. Lane County School District No. 4J », 310 Or 32, 791 P2d 854 (1990), rev’g in part 96 Or App 463 », 774 P2d 494 (1989).
The Supreme Court held that the names and addresses of the school district’s replacement coaches were not exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2), absent an individualized showing that disclosure would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy. The school’s blanket policy of nondisclosure was therefore unenforceable.
The Court of Appeals held (in the portion of its opinion that wasn’t reversed) that the names of the replacement coaches were not exempt as confidential information under ORS 192.355(4) because their names could not reasonably be considered confidential given their disclosure to, for example, parents of children at the school, and because various state and federal laws required that employees submit their names to their employers; that the names were not exempt under ORS 342.850(8) », which allowed school districts to restrict access to personnel files, because that restriction was not intended to cover information that was as widely disseminated and commonly used as teachers’ names; and that disclosure did not violate the Oregon Constitution by depriving public teachers of the privileges and immunities enjoyed by private teachers because facilitating the public’s understanding of how public business was conducted was a legitimate justification for treating public teachers differently.
AA Ambulance Co., Inc. v. Multnomah County », 102 Or App 398, 794 P2d 813 (1990).
The court affirmed the trial court’s decision that records in the possession of the county’s out-of-state consultant were “public records” under ORS 192.311(5) even though the county’s contract with the consultant provided for the confidentiality of certain records. The court explained that the “the contract, in and of itself” could not create an exception to Public Records Law, and that the county had not met its burden to show that the exemption for confidential information, ORS 192.355(4) , applied.
Morse Bros., Inc. v. Oregon Department of Economic Development », 103 Or App 619, 798 P2d 719 (1990).
The requester filed suit against the agency four days after making the records request, and one day after submitting a petition to the Attorney General. The court held that the requester’s complaint should be dismissed because it was filed before the Attorney General had taken any action on the petition and before the Attorney General was required to act. The court added that Public Records Law “clearly contemplates that agencies have the opportunity to review the requested records and to act on the request before the Attorney General or courts can review the matter.”
Davis v. Walker », 108 Or App 128, 814 P2d 547 (1991).
The court held that the Portland Police Bureau had failed to show that its public records fees were reasonably calculated to reimburse it for its actual costs as it had provided no specific support for its fees for labor time.
The court also held that the bureau’s regulation allowing access to only photocopies of redacted records was valid because the right of access to public records did not require access to an original document that contained some exempt information.
Marks v. McKenzie High School Fact-Finding Team », 319 Or 451, 878 P2d 417 (1994), rev’g 121 Or App 146 », 854 P2d 488 (1993).
The court held that a fact-finding team charged by a school board with investigating a school’s operations was not a “public body” and therefore not subject to Public Records Law. The court adopted a six-factor test to determine whether the team was the functional equivalent of a public body. Although the team was created at the behest of the board and was performing a governmental function in investigating the school, factors supporting a status as public body, the team did not have authority to make decisions for the school district, did not receive any financial support from the district, and was not supervised by the district. The court emphasized that because the school district retained all authority to act on the team’s investigation and findings, the team could have affected matters of public concern only through the report submitted to the school board, which would have been subject to Public Records Law in the board’s possession.
Laine v. City of Rockaway Beach », 134 Or App 655, 896 P2d 1219 (1995).
The court held that the city’s fire department had been a functional agency or department of the city such that the city could be ordered to disclose the department’s records. In reaching this conclusion, the court applied the six-factor balancing test from Marks v. McKenzie High School Fact-Finding Team. The court explained that most of the facts weighed in favor of the fire department being a part of the city: the city council had appointed the initial fire chief and directed him to organize a fire department; firefighting was traditionally seen as a governmental function; the city was the primary financial support for the department; the department had authority to enter into certain indemnity agreements binding the city; and the city exercised significant control over the department through its ability to approve or remove the elected fire chief, to define the department’s powers and duties, and to set its operating budget. The only factor weighing against the court’s conclusion was that the department’s leaders received only nominal salaries and the firefighters were volunteers.
Gray v. Salem-Keizer School District », 139 Or App 556, 912 P2d 938 (1996).
The court held that the portions of employment references that didn’t reveal the references’ identities were not exempt under ORS 192.355(4) as confidential information because the public interest wouldn’t suffer by disclosure. The court explained that the school district’s argument that disclosure would have a chilling effect on future references did not apply if the references’ identities were not revealed, and that disclosure would serve the public interest by “reducing the potential for basing hiring decisions on secret, unrebuttable allegations or innuendo.”
The court also held that the requester was entitled to attorney fees because the district did not provide him with the other nonexempt records within seven days of the order of the Marion County District Attorney. The court explained that the seven-day timeline to comply with an order was unambiguous, and therefore that whether the school district had acted in good faith in providing the records in 11 days was immaterial.
Oregon AFSCME Council 75 v. DAS », 150 Or App 87, 945 P2d 102 (1997).
AFSCME sought a declaratory judgment that records revealing which state employees were major users of sick leave were exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2). The court held that the trial court had lacked jurisdiction over the proceeding because AFSCME had failed to join all affected parties, namely the individual who submitted the records request. The court explained that the requester had a right to put on proof in order to defeat the claimed exemption.
Oregonian Publishing Co. v. Portland School District No. 1J », 329 Or 393, 987 P2d 480 (1999), aff’g on other grounds 152 Or App 135 », 952 P2d 66 (1998), modifying on recons 144 Or App 180 », 925 P2d 591 (1996).
The Supreme Court held that an investigative report by school police into the misuse and theft of school property was not exempt under ORS 342.850(8) », which allowed school districts to restrict access to a teacher’s personnel file. The court explained that although the report had been placed in a personnel file and was titled “Personnel Investigation,” the report did not address any individual employee’s terms and conditions of employment or recommend any employment decision regarding any individual employees, and the report’s recommendations related to the adoption of new policies and more stringent inventory controls.
The Court of Appeals, on reconsideration of its initial opinion, held that assuming the report was exempt under ORS 342.850(8) », the school district had waived the exemption through the school police officer’s testimony at an unemployment compensation hearing for one of the affected employees. The court explained that the officer’s testimony had disclosed substantially all of the information in the report, and that the testimony was publicly available as a transcript from the Employment Department. The court also noted that the ability to waive the exemption belonged to the school district, not to the affected employees.
The Court of Appeals initially, in the portion of its opinion not modified on reconsideration, held that one of the school employee’s resignation letters was not exempt under ORS 342.850(8) because the letter had been widely distributed to faculty, staff, and school parents, and had been quoted at length in a newspaper article. The court also had held that the letter and report were not exempt under ORS 192.345(12) as a personnel discipline action because the public interest required disclosure. The court explained that the public interest in disclosure was significant because the records involved alleged misuse and theft of public property by public employees, while the matter had already received publicity, indicating a lesser intrusion into the employees’ privacy. The court also held that the letter and report were not exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2), because the records did not contain information of a personal nature and disclosure would not constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy.
And finally, the court held that the requester was not entitled to full attorneys’ fees. The court explained that the requester had not fully prevailed as the trial court had determined several documents to be exempt from disclosure, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not awarding fees for time spent pursuing the letter as the requester had already received it.
(Note: The Court of Appeals has confirmed that it will adhere to the analysis of ORS 192.355(2) and 192.345(12) it applied in its initial opinion because the Supreme Court’s affirming opinion did not call that analysis into question. City of Portland v. Anderson », 163 Or App 550, 556 n 3 (1999).)
Springfield School District #19 v. Guard Publishing Co. », 156 Or App 176, 967 P2d 510 (1998).
The court held that the school district waived the exemption for teacher personnel files, ORS 342.850(8) », over documents related to the discipline of a former principal by disclosing the charging letter. The court explained that the letter revealed many of the same facts contained in the withheld records. However, the court held that the school district did not waive the exemption over documents related to the discipline of a teacher by disclosing the principal’s charging letter; the court explained that even though the letter described many of the same events contained in the exempt documents, the context was different: the letter focused on the discipline of the principal, and only referred to the teacher in passing and not for the purpose of implicating the teacher’s conduct.
City of Portland v. Anderson », 163 Or App 550, 988 P2d 402 (1999).
The court held that records pertaining to an investigation and disciplinary action against a police captain were not exempt as a personnel discipline action under ORS 192.345(12). The court explained that records pertaining to allegations that did not result in discipline of the captain did not qualify as a personnel discipline action. And the public interest required disclosure of the records relating to the alleged conduct that the captain was disciplined for: allegations that the captain engaged in sexual conduct through an escort service that may have been a front for prostitution bore materially on his integrity and his ability to enforce the law evenhandedly.
The court also held that these records were not exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2). The court explained that information related to the captain’s qualification to serve in a position of public trust was not personal in nature, and that the implications of the captain’s conduct transcended any claims to privacy.
Hood Technology Corp. v. Oregon OSHA », 168 Or App 293, 7 P3d 564 (2000).
The court held that there was a disputed issue of material fact as to whether a complainant had submitted his identity in confidence to OSHA, and thus reversed the trial court’s summary judgment ruling that this information was exempt under ORS 192.355(4) as confidential information. Because the complainant provided his name to OSHA before being asked about confidentiality, it was unclear whether he intended and believed from the outset that OSHA would keep his name confidential.
The court also held that the trial court had not erred in denying the requester’s motion for summary judgment. Whether disclosing the complainant’s identity would cause harm to the public interest turned not on the truth or falsity of the complaint, but on the complainant’s good faith or bad faith in submitting the information. Disclosing the identity of a person who acted in good faith would be contrary to the public interest, even if the submitted information was false, while there was no public interest in protecting the identity of persons who “intentionally and knowingly ma[de] false complaints for malicious and vindictive/harassment purposes.”
Kluge v. Oregon State Bar », 172 Or App 452, 19 P3d 938 (2001).
The court held that the trial court erred in relying solely on the State Bar’s description of the records, rather than reviewing the records in camera to determine whether they were exempt as internal advisory communications under ORS 192.355(1). The court explained that “[s]omething more than mere assertions concerning the contents of exempted records [was] needed in order protect the public’s right of disclosure.” The court added that the Bar’s affidavit and brief did not show that the public interest in encouraging frank communications clearly outweighed the public interest in disclosure because they did not analyze the public interest in disclosure.
Oregonians for Sound Economic Policy, Inc. v. SAIF », 187 Or App 621, 69 P3d 742 (2003).
The court held that the trial court did not err in denying SAIF’s motion to dismiss the requester’s declaratory judgment claim. The court explained that a statute providing for the public inspection of SAIF’s records provided an alternative means of access to the records; therefore, the review provisions of the Public Records Law were not the only way to obtain the requested records.
Because of this independent right to inspect SAIF’s records, the court also held that SAIF could not rely on the exemptions found in Public Records Law.
(Note: The legislature subsequently amended the statute at issue, ORS 656.702(1) », by deleting the provision that SAIF’s records were available for public inspection, providing instead that these records are subject to the Public Records Law. Or Laws 2009, ch 57, § 1 ».)
In Defense of Animals v. OHSU », 199 Or App 160, 112 P3d 336 (2005).
The court held that names of OHSU staff involved in particular animal testing were exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.345(30) because the public interest didn’t require disclosure. The court explained that the relevant staff had received threats and had a general concern about harassment and threats from animal rights groups. The court added that the requester’s asserted public interest in disclosure, ensuring that OHSU was treating the animals humanely, did not depend on receiving the names of specific staff.
The court also held that the names of drug companies for which OHSU conducted research, as well as the names of the experimental drugs being tested, were exempt under ORS 192.355(21) as sensitive business records of OHSU not customarily provided to business competitors. The court explained that the evidence showed that even information that a particular company was using OHSU’s research center would be useful information to the company’s competitors, and companies would not use the center for research if this information were disclosed. The records qualified as “business records” because the research was conducted for commercial purposes or in a commercial manner.
Turning to a dispute over fees, the court held that the trial court, in the context of an action for declaratory or injunctive relief, had jurisdiction to determine whether OHSU’s assessed fees were reasonably calculated to reimburse the actual costs in making the records available. The trial court had erred in concluding that the fees were reasonable because redactions of the names of companies, the medications being tested, and OHSU staff names did not require review by highly paid professional staff, and OHSU had calculated some personnel costs at overtime rates without showing why it could not have hired additional, perhaps temporary, staff at a regular rate of pay.
Finally, the court provided guidelines for determining whether OHSU’s denial of the request for fee waiver or reduction was proper. The court explained that the first step is determining whether “the furnishing of the record has utility—indeed its greatest utility—to the community of society as a whole.” If that standard is satisfied, then the public body’s decision not to grant a waiver or reduction must be reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.
City of Portland v. Oregonian Publishing Co. », 200 Or App 120, 112 P3d 457 (2005).
The court held that records related to the investigation and discipline of a police officer who killed a civilian during a traffic stop were not exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.355(1) as internal advisory communications because the public interest in nondisclosure did not clearly outweigh the public interest in disclosure. The court explained that the public interest in “determining whether a full, frank, and thorough investigation of this highly inflammatory and widely reported incident occurred” was significant, while a review of the withheld records indicated they contained clinical and detached judgments made by supervisors pursuant to their duties. The court added that “although people may be more candid when they know that their statements will not be disclosed to the public[,] * * * they are also more likely to be vindictive, careless, or speculative—and therefore unreliable.”
Jury Service Resource Center v. De Muniz », 340 Or 423, 429, 134 P3d 948 (2006), rev’g Jury Service Resource Center v. Carson », 199 Or App 106, 110 P3d 594 (2005).
The court held that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution did not provide a right of access to a court’s jury pool records (source lists, master lists, and term lists). The court also affirmed the Court of Appeal’s conclusion that assuming these records were “public records,” they were exempt from disclosure under ORS 10.215(1) ».
Klamath County School District v. Teamey », 207 Or App 250, 140 P3d 1152 (2006).
The court held that an auditor’s and private investigator’s factual investigations carried out at the direction of an attorney in order to provide legal advice to the school district were exempt as attorney-client confidential communications under ORS 40.225 ». The court explained that the school district contacted the attorney for legal advice, and that the subsequent factual investigations were recommended by the attorney in order to help facilitate the rendition of that advice.
(Note: The legislature subsequently amended ORS 192.355(9) to narrow the availability of the attorney-client privilege as an exemption for factual information developed in response to allegations of public body wrongdoing. Or Laws 2007, ch 513, § 5.)
Colby v. Gunson », 224 Or App 666, 199 P3d 350 (2008).
The court held that an autopsy and laboratory test results requested from the state medical examiner were not exempt under ORS 146.035(5) », which granted access to these records to specific persons. The court explained that this statute was not incorporated as an exemption by ORS 192.355(9) because it did not explicitly restrict access to the records, and could plausibly be read to act only as an affirmative grant of access to certain persons.
(Note: The legislature responded to this case by enacting ORS 192.345(36), which conditionally exempts “[a] medical examiner’s report, autopsy report or laboratory report ordered by a medical examiner under ORS 146.117.” Or Laws 2009, ch 222, § 2 ».)
Mail Tribune, Inc. v. Winters », 236 Or App 91, 237 P3d 831 (2010).
The court held that a list of all concealed handgun licenses issued in a particular county was not exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2), or the exemption for security measures, ORS 192.345(23). The court explained that the sheriff had not met his burden to show on an individualized basis that disclosing this information would be an unreasonable invasion of privacy or that the handgun licenses were obtained for security purposes.
(Note: The legislature responded to this case by enacting ORS 192.374, which prohibits a public body from disclosing information that identifies a person as a holder of or applicant for a concealed handgun license, subject to certain exceptions. Or Laws 2012, ch 93, §§ 2, 5.)
Port of Portland v. Oregon Center for Environmental Health », 238 Or App 404, 243 P3d 102 (2010).
The court held that a joint defense agreement between a number of entities potentially responsible for costs associated with cleaning up the Portland Harbor was exempt under the common-interest attorney-client privilege. The court explained that the confidential agreement qualified as a communication made for the purpose of facilitating the rendition of legal services because it would help to make easier the entities’ joint investigation to prepare for potential litigation related to the cleanup. And the court noted that the entities shared a common interest through their potential liability for cleanup costs, despite the possibility that the entities might also have adverse interests.
Pfizer Inc. v. Oregon Department of Justice », 254 Or App 144, 294 P3d 496 (2012).
The court held that various exhibits produced by Pfizer to DOJ in the course of a DOJ investigation were exempt as trade secrets under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and that DOJ was therefore bound by a confidentiality agreement not to disclose them in response to public records requests. However, the court held that some exhibits were not exempt either as trade secrets or as confidential information under ORS 192.355(4) because they were already available in public documents, such as a federal information against Pfizer.
The court also held, without discussion, that the three individuals who submitted the records requests to DOJ were not necessary parties to the action. The trial court had reasoned that Pfizer was seeking a declaration of its rights under its confidentiality agreements with DOJ, not a declaration of its rights under the Public Records Law.
Brown v. Guard Publishing Co. », 267 Or App 552, 341 P3d 145 (2014).
The court held that it was inappropriate to conclude on summary judgment that a public utility’s contract to purchase electricity was exempt in its entirety under ORS 192.355(26) as sensitive business, commercial, or financial information that would cause a competitive disadvantage. The court explained that because the exemption was phrased in terms of information as opposed to the entire public record, only information within the contract that met the elements of the exemption could be withheld. The court concluded that the various information in the contract was not described with enough specificity to warrant summary judgment for the utility.
ACLU of Oregon, Inc. v. City of Eugene », 360 Or 269, 380 P3d 281 (2016), rev’g 271 Or App 276 », 350 P3d 507 (2015).
The Supreme Court held that portions of an internal police investigation of alleged misconduct that were reviewed by a civilian review board were not exempt under ORS 181A.830 » because the public interest required disclosure. The court explained that the interest in disclosure was particularly significant in cases of alleged misuse of force by police officers, and that evidence established the public had a particular interest in whether the civilian review board properly oversaw the internal investigation. The court added that the city’s interest in protecting its officers’ privacy was substantially diminished where the officers’ names and alleged conduct were already public, and that there was no evidence that disclosure would affect the city’s ability to discipline, evaluate, and train officers. The court also noted that the Court of Appeals had erred in concluding that the statutory scheme indicated there was no public interest in reviewing the effectiveness of the civilian review board.
International Longshore & Warehouse Union v. Port of Portland », 285 Or App 222, 396 P3d 235 (2017).
The court held that the trial court had jurisdiction over a public records suit, even though the port had not formally denied the records request. The court explained that the only statutory requirement for filing a suit under ORS 192.431 was the Attorney General’s or district attorney’s denial of a public records petition (or the failure of the Attorney General or district attorney to issue an order within seven days of receiving a petition).
OHSU v. Oregonian Publishing Co. », 362 Or 68, 403 P3d 732 (2017), rev’g in part 278 Or App 189 », 373 P3d 1233 (2016).
The Supreme Court held that, in combination, the names of patients who had filed tort claim notices with OHSU, the dates of the alleged torts, and the names of the patients’ attorneys were exempt from disclosure under ORS 192.558(1) as protected health information. The court rejected the requester’s argument that the information was not exempt if the records did not identify which claimants were patients.
The Court of Appeals held (in the portion of its opinion not reviewed by the Supreme Court) that the name of a claimant who was an OHSU employee was not exempt under the personal privacy exemption, ORS 192.355(2). The court explained that the statutory scheme surrounding tort claim notices indicated that the name was not information of a personal nature as it was not peculiar to the claimant’s private concerns. The court also held that the name of a claimant who was an OHSU faculty member was not exempt under ORS 353.260(6) », protecting personnel records, because the evidence showed that tort claim notices were regularly kept by claims managers in the risk management department, and not in the faculty member’s personnel file.
Pamplin Media Group v. City of Salem », 293 Or App 755 (2018).
The court held that arrest information in a child abuse case was not exempt from disclosure under ORS 419B.035 », which protects certain records related to a report of child abuse. The court explained that the arrest information was not compiled under the statutes dealing with reports of child abuse, but rather under the police’s general authority in criminal matters.