Thursday, March 07, 2013

Mincal Consumer Law Group v. Carlsbad Police Dep't (Cal. Ct. App. - March 7, 2013)

Soemtimes I can figure things out on my own, even when they're not expressly stated.  But that's not the case here.

An attorney files a Public Records Act request with a city to get various information about identity theft; in particular, the names and addresses of the victims.  The city gives the attorney certain information (namely, records during the past thirty days), but denies the request for the past nine months of records on the grounds that this information is "historical".  The trial court denies the attorney's writ petition, and the Court of Appeal dismisses the appeal on procedural grounds.

I understand the merits, which are straightforward.  But I'm a little unclear as to why the attorney wants the underlying records, and why it's worth an expansive fight in the trial court as well as in the Court of Appeal.  My sense is that the lawyer might be trolling for clients.  But is there really value in identity theft cases?  Are these really big moneymakers?

Alternately, I guess there's a scenario where the requested records would be relevant to an ongoing litigation.  But I can't come up with one on my own.

So, in short, I don't fully understand the business strategy here.

But that's no great surprise.  There's a reason, after all, that I'm a law professor rather than a managing partner at a law firm negotiating with banks and implementing a marketing strategy.