Agricultural Labor etc. Bd. v. Super. Ct.

For some period of time before March 2015, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board had delegated plenary authority to seek injunctive relief under Labor Code section 1160.4 to general counsel. In March 2015, the board decided to change that delegation by requiring general counsel to obtain case-specific approval from the board for every request for injunctive relief. In May 2015, general counsel asked the board to approve a proceeding for injunctive relief against Gerawan Farming, Inc. (Gerawan). The board gave its conditional approval to that proceeding. When Gerawan asked the board to disclose the communications between the board and general counsel regarding the matter under the California Public Records Act, the board refused, claiming privilege. Gerawan brought a writ proceeding in Sacramento County Superior Court seeking to force the board to disclose the requested communications, and the court ordered disclosure. The board brought the present writ proceeding to the Court of Appeals to challenge the superior court’s ruling. After review, the Court of Appeals concluded the superior court erred in ordering disclosure of the communications between the board and general counsel relating to the decision to seek injunctive relief against Gerawan because those communications were indeed protected by the attorney-client privilege. "[E]ven if due process concerns with respect to the pending administrative proceeding against Gerawan are raised by the communications at issue, those concerns do not preclude the attorney-client privilege from attaching to those communications, and because the communications are privileged, they are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act." Accordingly, the Court directed that a writ of mandate issue ordering the superior court to vacate its order requiring disclosure of those communications and enter a new order denying Gerawan’s request for disclosure. View "Agricultural Labor etc. Bd. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law