|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
March 1, 1999
Mr. LaMarr Stevenson
Dear Mr. Stevenson:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID # 122349.
The City of Arlington (the "city") received a request for "a copy of the date on the written opinion by the city attorney's office about the mayor voting on the funding issue for the New Beginnings Inc. Program as published in the 6/15/98 issue of the Arlington Morning News." The requestor also seeks "the dates of the memos used as Exhibit B to the State Attorney General's Office in your request to keep this opinion secret". You contend that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.107 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.
Section 552.107(1) excepts information that an attorney cannot disclose because of a duty to his client. Section 552.107(1) excepts information from disclosure if:
[I]t is information that the attorney general or an attorney of a political subdivision is prohibited from disclosing because of a duty to the client under the Texas Rules of Civil Evidence, the Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence, or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.
In Open Records Decision No. 574 (1990), this office concluded that section 552.107(1) 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. Open Records Decision No. 574 at 5 (1990).
Section 552.107(1) does not protect purely factual information unless the factual information constitutes a confidence that the client related to the attorney. See id. at 5. When invoking this exception, the governmental body bears the burden of explaining how the particular information requested constitutes either a client confidence or a communication of legal advice or opinion. See, e.g., Open Records Decision No. 589 (1991). In this instance, you have not shown how this section applies to the dates requested. Therefore, we conclude that the dates requested may not be withheld pursuant to section 552.107(1).
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 upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
David Van Brunt Price
Ref: ID# 122349
Enclosures: Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Bruce Pastusek
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US