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August 26, 1999

Mr. Greg T. Simpson
Director, Administrative Law Section
Legal Services Division
Texas General Land Office
1700 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701-1495

OR99-2419

Dear Mr. Simpson:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 127094.

The General Land Office (the "GLO") received multiple requests for documentation used by the GLO to determine that the requestors' homes are located on a public beach. You claim that the submitted information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.103 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.103(a) of the Government Code, the "litigation exception," excepts from disclosure information relating to litigation to which the state is or may be a party. The governmental body has the burden of providing relevant facts and documents to show that the section 552.103(a) exception is applicable in a particular situation. The test for meeting this burden is a showing that (1) litigation is pending or reasonably anticipated, and (2) the information at issue is related to that litigation. University of Tex. Law Sch. v. Texas Legal Found., 958 S.W.2d 479 (Tex. App.--Austin 1997, no pet.); Heard v Houston Post Co., 684 S.W.2d 210, 212 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1984, writ ref'd n.r.e.); Open Records Decision No. 551 at 4 (1990). The governmental body must meet both prongs of this test for information to be excepted under section 552.103(a).

You have demonstrated that the submitted information relates to anticipated litigation for the purposes of section 552.103(a); therefore, the documents may be withheld from disclosure at this time. We note, however, that once information has been obtained by all parties to the litigation through discovery or otherwise, no section 552.103(a) interest exists with respect to that information. Open Records Decision Nos. 349 (1982), 320 (1982). We also note that the applicability of section 552.103(a) ends once the litigation has concluded. Attorney General Opinion MW-575 (1982); Open Records Decision No. 350 (1982).

We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied on as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have any questions regarding this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

June B. Harden
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

JBH/ch

Ref: ID# 127094

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Jose Leon
Ms. Mercedes Leon
918 Oak Park Drive
Houston, Texas 77077
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Fred Fowler
Ms. Janet Fowler
P.O. Box 1642
Houston, Texas 77215
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. James Hedberg
Ms. Nancy Hedberg
20127 Chateau Bend Drive
Houston, Texas 77450
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. Frank Koslosky
Ms. Carol Koslosky
13215 Lost Creek Road
Tomball, Texas 77375
(w/o enclosures)

Mr. W. Z. Frederick Walker
3665 Everett Street
Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033-5939
(w/o enclosures)

Ms. Catherine G. Eisemann
c/o Mr. Dean Eisemann
3350 McCue, Unite 904
Houston, Texas 77056
(w/o enclosures)


 

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