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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mike Bloomberg Loses In Sergio Hernandez' FOIL Case

Court rules against NYC over ex-chancellor emails

NEW YORK - (AP) -- A court has upheld a judge's decision ordering Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration to release emails between his office and former schools chancellor Cathie Black.
The emails were requested by an investigative journalist under the Freedom of Information Law. The city's Law Department contends the emails are exempt from the law.
Sergio Hernandez sued the administration, saying they refused a Nov. 19, 2011 request for emails leading up to Black's controversial hiring and short-lived tenure.
A judge ordered the city to release the emails to Hernandez. The City appealed and on Tuesday an Appellate Court upheld the judge's decision.
A City lawyer said the city is reviewing the decision and will ask the court permission to appeal.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Hernandez v Office of the Mayor of the City of New York
2012 NY Slip Op 08067
Decided on November 27, 2012
Appellate Division, First Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Decided on November 27, 2012 
Tom, J.P., Saxe, Richter, Abdus-Salaam, Feinman, JJ.
8623 106213/11 

[*1]In re Sergio Hernandez, Petitioner-Respondent, The 
Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, Respondent-Appellant.

Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York (Susan 
Paulson of counsel), for appellant. 
Schlam Stone Dolan LLP, New York (Raffi Melkonian of 
counsel), for respondent. 

Order and judgment (one paper), Supreme Court, New York County (Alice Schlesinger, J.), entered December 6, 2011, granting the petition brought pursuant to CPLR article 78 seeking to annul a determination of respondent Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, dated January 26, 2011, which denied petitioner's requests under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for certain email messages sent from or received by any government email accounts assigned to the Office of the Mayor to or from Cathleen Black, at the time she was a nominee for the position of New York City School Chancellor, or any email address ending with the domain name of the company that employed her, to the extent of directing respondent to produce redacted copies of such emails, and directing the parties to appear for a conference on the issue of attorney's fees and costs, unanimously affirmed, without costs.
The motion court properly directed respondent to disclose the redacted emails, which are not exempt from disclosure as inter- or intra-agency materials (Public Officers Law § 89[2][g]). Black was not an agent of the City since she had not yet been retained as Chancellor (cf. Matter of Sea Crest Constr. Corp. v Stubing, 82 AD2d 546 [2d Dept 1981]). Further, Black was not acting simply as an outside consultant on behalf of the City, but was a private citizen with interests that may have diverged from those of the City (see Matter of Tuck-It-Away Assoc., L.P. v Empire State Dev. Corp., 54 AD3d 154, 163 [1st Dept 2008]; see also Matter of Town of Waterford v New York State Dept. of Envtl. Conservation, 18 NY3d 652 [2012]; cf. Matter of Xerox Corp. v Town of Webster, 65 NY2d 131 [1985]).
Costs and attorney's fees should be decided by the motion court in the first instance.
ENTERED: NOVEMBER 27, 2012 [*2]

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