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SCHWARTZ. ATTORNEYS AT Law 816 CONGRESS AVENUE PHONE: (512) 708-1804 Sorte 800 TOLL FREE: (800) 969-7444 AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701-2443 AUST + Dauzas + Pr.Worrtt + Houston + Sev ANTONIO aX: (512} 708-9037 HEATHER R, RUTLAND Partner baraland @hensleesehwacte coma December 18, 2009 VIA HAND DI Hon. Greg Abbott Office of Attomey General Open Records Division P.O. Box 12548 “Austin, Texas 78711-2548 Re: Public Information Request ~ Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Dear General Abbott: This firm represents Carrollton-Farmers Branch independent Schoo! District, and in this, capacity filed a request for opinion with your office on November 13, 2609 in response fo a Public Information Act (“the Act”) request received October 31, 2009, The request for information is enclosed as “Attachment A” for your convenience There have been a number of submissions to your office regarding the initial request for information of October 31, the most recent being correspondence received by this firm on December 15, 2009, enclosed as “Attachment B”, The Requestor sent copies of this same conrespondence to your office, the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District FBISD™ or “the District”), and others in response to the District's efforts to clarify and confirm various key issues. It appears from her correspondence that the Requestor not only takes issue with the District’s invocation of the attorney-client privilege as an exception to disclosure under the Act, but is laboring under the misapprehension that the Distriet—or its attorneys—oreated and/or submitted a final written report to the Board of Trustees. Without waiving any of the exceptions to disclosure previously claimed in the District's correspondence to your office of November 13, 2009, enclosed (without attachments) as “Attachment C”, the District wishes to refute the Requestor’s most recent accusations raised in her December 15, 2009 correspondence, To that end, enclosed is a representative sample of the attorney notes shared with the Board of Trustees while in closed session, (See “Attachment D”) WWW.HENSLEESCHWARTZ.COM This document, like the others referenced in Richard Fleming's correspondence (See “Attachment B”), is excepted from disclosure under the Act because it is not a completed report, but is an example of privileged, confidential Henslee Schwartz attomey notes and conelusions with regard to the specific issues the law firm was retained to investigate for the District. Attachment D is excepted from disclosure under Texas Government Code as privileged, confidential “information that the attorney general or an attorney of a political subdivision is prohibited trom 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.” TEX. Gov'T Cope § 552.107(1); see also Harlandale Indep. Sch Dist. v. Cornyn, 2S S.W.3d 328, 331-32 (Tex. App—Austin 2000, pet. denied) (ruling that a retained attorney's investigative materials and report are excepted from public disclosure). The notes represented by Attachment D are not a final report, but are instead privileged confidential communications between the client District and Henslee Schwartz attorneys, made for the explicit purpose of “facilitating the rendition of professional legal services to the client.” Tex. R. EVID, 503 (b)(1). As is made clear in Attachment D, the District retained the law firm to investigate certain concerns and then offer its professional advice and opinion as to how the District should proceed regarding specific legal issues. Mr. Fleming, and indeed, Ms. Bernier, seem to misunderstand the nature of the materials shared with the Board of Trustees by Henslee Schwartz attorneys. As can be seen in Attachment preach nected -by}-the Beard In fact_the Baasd of Trustees declined, based on the law firm's presentation in executive session, to direct the law firm to compile a final report, ‘The outstanding legal issues had been addressed to the Board’s satisfaction, and the Board saw no need to risk sullying—even inadvertently—the professional reputations of former or current District employees doing so.! where there was an inadequate basis for Information is excepted from public disclosure under the Act if it is considered privileged or confidential “by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision.” Tex. Gov’? Cone § 552.101; TEX. R. EViD. 503; In re City of Georgetown, 53 S.W.3d 328, 336 (Tex. 2001) (olding that the Texas Rules of Evidence constitute “other law” within the meaning of Texas Government Code, section 552.022(a)). Attachment D, as well as all other communications between the District and the law firm related to or arising from the Board of Trustees” retention While the Act requires a completed report be made public under Texas Government Code, section 952,022, the ‘Act also allows 2 completed report to be withheld if such report has been specifically excepted from required disclosure. Tex. Gov"? CODE § 552.101, er seg. Thus, even had the materials shared with the Board in executive session by the law firm constituted a completed report, Texas law prohibits the disclosure of such information. Harlandale Indep. Sch, Dist. v. Cornyn, 25 $.W.3d at 333-35 (concluding that the attomey-client privilege attaches to all communications—not only legal analysis and recommendations—between an attorney retained to conduct an investigation in her capacity as an attorney and her schoo! district client), HENSLEE SCHWARTZ LLP December 18, 2009 Page 3 of Henslee Schwartz, LLP to conduct this investigation and to render legal services, are therefore excepted from disclosure as confidential by law and judicial decision. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Requestor, without attachments. Please feel free to contact me directly should you require additional information, 1 look forward to your reply Sincerel; Ahk LAL Hebther R. Rutland HRR/jra Enel ified Mail (70083230000325835920) (w/o attachments) Robin Bemier 13830 Heartside Place Farmers Branch, Texas 75234