Click for home page Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
John Cornyn
image


 

February 9, 2000

Mr. Michael Wied
Administration and Northern Legal Services
Texas Water Development Board
P.O. Box 13231
Austin, Texas 78711-3231

OR2000-0485

Dear Mr. Wied:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 133646.

The Texas Water Development Board (the board") received a request for "the loan application and all associated documents for the Wellborn WS District." You claim that three documents are excepted from disclosure by section 552.107 of the Government Code. We assume that you have released all other information responsive to the request.

Section 552.107(1) excepts information that an attorney cannot disclose because of a duty to his client. In Open Records Decision No. 574 (1990), this office concluded that section 552.107 excepts from public disclosure only "privileged information," that is, information that reflects either confidential communications from the client to the attorney or the attorney's legal advice or opinions; it does not apply to all client information held by a governmental body's attorney. Id. at 5. We conclude that the three documents reflect either confidential communications from the client to the attorney or the attorney's legal advice or opinions that you may withhold under section 552.107.

This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.

This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. 552.321(a).

If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. 552.3215(e).

If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. 552.321(a); Texas Dep't of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.-Austin 1992, no writ).

If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.

Sincerely,

Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

YHL/ljp

Ref: ID# 133646

Encl. Submitted documents

cc: Ms. Kathleen Holt
Navigant Consulting, Inc.
5806 Mesa Drive, Suite 310
Austin, Texas 78731

(w/o enclosures)


 

Footnotes

The Texas Water Development Board (the board") received a request for "the loan application and all associated documents for the Wellborn WS District." You claim that three documents are excepted from disclosure by section 552.107 of the Government Code. We assume that you have released all other information responsive to the request. We conclude that the three documents reflect either confidential communications from the client to the attorney or the attorney's legal advice or opinions that you may withhold under section 552.107.


 

POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
An Equal Employment Opportunity Employer


Home | ORLs