|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
May 30, 2000
Ms. Lisa Aguilar
Dear Ms. Aguilar:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 136230.
The City of Corpus Christi (the "city") received a request for forty-five categories of information apparently related to an exchange program with the city of Yokosuka, Japan. You state that you have released some of the responsive information to the requestor. You claim that the exchange program applicants' home address and telephone numbers are excepted from disclosure under section 552.101 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.(1)
Section 552.101 excepts from disclosure "information considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision." This section encompasses information protected by other statutes. Section 552.101 also encompasses common law privacy and excepts from disclosure private facts about an individual. Industrial Found. v. Texas Indus. Accident Bd., 540 S.W.2d 668 (Tex. 1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 931 (1977). Therefore, information may be withheld from the public when (1) it is highly intimate and embarrassing such that its release would be highly objectionable to a person of ordinary sensibilities, and (2) there is no legitimate public interest in its disclosure. Id. at 685; Open Records Decision No. 611 at 1 (1992).
Information previously held by this office not to be protected by common law privacy interests includes, for example, applicants' and employees' educational training; names and addresses of former employers, dates of employment, kind of work, salary, and reasons for leaving; names, occupations, addresses and phone numbers of character references; job preferences or ability; and birth dates, height, weight, marital status, and social security numbers. Open Records Decision No. 626 at 2 (1994); see also Open Records Decision Nos. 455 (1987), 444 (1986), 421 (1984), 405 (1983). Morever, this office has previously concluded that home addresses are not "intimate" information, and are therefore not protected as to private citizens. Open Records Decision Nos. 478 (1987), 455 (1987), 254 (1980). Thus, the release of the information at issue does not implicate the applicants' privacy rights. Further, you have sited no other authority, statutory or otherwise, for withholding the submitted information.(2) As such, the city must release the submitted information to the requestor.
This letter ruling is limited to the particular records at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records or any other circumstances.
This ruling triggers important deadlines regarding the rights and responsibilities of the governmental body and of the requestor. For example, governmental bodies are prohibited from asking the attorney general to reconsider this ruling. Gov't Code § 552.301(f). If the governmental body wants to challenge this ruling, the governmental body must appeal by filing suit in Travis County within 30 calendar days. Id. § 552.324(b). In order to get the full benefit of such an appeal, the governmental body must file suit within 10 calendar days. Id. § 552.353(b)(3), (c). If the governmental body does not appeal this ruling and the governmental body does not comply with it, then both the requestor and the attorney general have the right to file suit against the governmental body to enforce this ruling. Id. § 552.321(a).
If this ruling requires the governmental body to release all or part of the requested information, the governmental body is responsible for taking the next step. Based on the statute, the attorney general expects that, within 10 calendar days of this ruling, the governmental body will do one of the following three things: 1) release the public records; 2) notify the requestor of the exact day, time, and place that copies of the records will be provided or that the records can be inspected; or 3) notify the requestor of the governmental body's intent to challenge this letter ruling in court. If the governmental body fails to do one of these three things within 10 calendar days of this ruling, then the requestor should report that failure to the attorney general's Open Government Hotline, toll free, at 877/673-6839. The requestor may also file a complaint with the district or county attorney. Id. § 552.3215(e).
If this ruling requires or permits the governmental body to withhold all or some of the requested information, the requestor can appeal that decision by suing the governmental body. Id. § 552.321(a); Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408, 411 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ).
If the governmental body, the requestor, or any other person has questions or comments about this ruling, they may contact our office. Although there is no statutory deadline for contacting us, the attorney general prefers to receive any comments within 10 calendar days of the date of this ruling.
Ref: ID# 136230
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Karen Williamson
1. In reaching our conclusion here, we assume that the "representative sample" of records submitted to this office is truly representative of the requested records as a whole. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988), 497 (1988). This open records letter does not reach, and therefore does not authorize the withholding of, any other requested records to the extent that those records contain substantially different types of information than that submitted to this office.
2. Because you have not informed us otherwise, we assume that the none of the volunteers are city employees whose addresses would be protected under section 552.117 of the Government Code.
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