RECORDS CONTAINING ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT

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February 6, 2020


 Request:  Did the State Board of Accountancy violate the open records and meetings laws by withholding requested records and failing to properly notice a meeting?

Conclusion: The State Board of Accountancy held a special meeting on November 5, 2019, to receive a litigation update regarding a disciplinary case. The Board posted a correct notice at its office but the version of the notice posted on the Secretary of State’s website failed to list any topics or agenda and also  listed an incorrect meeting date of November 15, 2019. The Board failed to properly notice its November 5, 2019, special meeting and must update its meeting minutes to reflect the detailed recollections of any conversations held during the meeting. On November 19, 2019, the Board received a request for all records regarding the special meeting. The Board provided some records but withheld an email chain, claiming attorney work product. Upon review by this office, only the email from the board’s litigation attorney to the Board’s general counsel met all three elements of “attorney work product.” Although the email was in a chain, the Board has a duty to review and redact exempt or confidential information and turn over the remaining portions of the record that are not protected. Therefore, the Board was in violation of the law. The Board has since provided the record that was public and no further remedial action is required.

Opinion 2020-O-01

 

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