The California Supreme Court has unanimously sided with a group of investigative journalists over the Department of Public Health (DPH) in a dispute over public access to regulatory records.
In an investigation into abuse at state-owned and -operated treatment facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, the Center for Investigative Reporting (the Center) requested from DPH copies of all citations issued to the seven largest state faculties. DPH responded to the request with 55 aggressively redacted citations, giving scant information about the actual violations.
DPH claimed that the redactions of private medical information were justified under the Lanterman Act. The Center, demanding more information under the Long Term Care Act, sued DPH for the unredacted citations.