Stockton, San Joaquin County Debate Release of Response Data
A legal dispute between the city of Stockton and San Joaquin County centers around public disclosure of complaints about emergency medical response, the Stockton Record reports.
The issue stems from December 2007, when the firefighters' union posted online a log of complaints and other data obtained by filing a California Public Records Act request with Stockton.
The county argues that keeping such information private enables emergency medical providers to participate in a quality improvement program.
However, the city argues that public disclosure of professional complaints will lead to more accountability and that confidentiality protects the county from releasing embarrassing information about the county and its ambulance contractor.
In response to the incident, the county filed a lawsuit to prevent the city from disclosing information, Assistant County Counsel Mark Myles said.
In court documents, Stockton argues that public documents must be released unless state law prevents their disclosure, but the county argues in court documents that the public records law does not require a specific exemption and that withholding data would be in line with existing exemptions involving health records.
The lawsuit is pending, but a judge last month signed an order requiring Stockton to contact the county if any information in question is requested by the public (Johnson, Stockton Record, 3/18).