Petitioners, university and its auxiliary association, denied real party in interest newspaper's request for certain documents under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), Cal. Gov't Code § 6250 et seq. The newspaper filed a petition for writ of mandate. The respondent court ordered disclosure by the university and the association. The petitioners filed original petitions for writ of mandate and/or prohibition challenging that order.
The newspaper sought the undisclosed identities of licensees who purchased luxury suites in the university's arena, and the license agreements. The appellate court held that the documents were public records as they were "used" and/or "retained" by the university as required under Cal. Gov't Code § 6252(e), and they related to the conduct of public business, specifically, the operation of a public facility on land owned by a public university, financed, in part, by public funds. There were no applicable exceptions to disclosure. Under Cal. Gov't Code § 6255, the public interest in disclosure of the records, i.e., whether resources were spent for the benefit of the community at large or only a limited few, or whether any favoritism or advantage was shown, was not outweighed by the public interest in nondisclosure. The Business lawyer Orange county university did not show that licensees expected confidentiality, or that either donations or license agreements would be cancelled. Thus, the university failed to meet its burden of demonstrating a clear overbalance on the side of confidentiality. Finally, the auxiliary association was not a "state agency" under the CPRA, so it was not subject to disclosure.
A writ of mandate issued directing the lower court to (1) vacate the part of its order directing the auxiliary association to disclose the identities and to produce the license agreements; and (2) to enter an order denying the newspaper's petition for writ of mandate with respect to the association. The court denied the university's writ petition, and ordered it to disclose the identities of the licensees and produce the license agreements.
Appellant taxpayer sought review of a decision of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which upheld the decision of appellee State Board of Equalization of the State of California (board) that the taxpayer was liable for sales taxes on its purchase of wooden barrels and kegs in which it sold its products.
The taxpayer used wooden barrels and kegs to contain its product for sale to retailers. The taxpayer provided the cooperage companies with a resale certificate, thus exempting them from sales tax collection. The board sought to tax the barrels as self-consumed merchandise. The taxpayer paid the sales tax under protest and claimed a refund. The trial court denied the refund and the taxpayer appealed. The court on appeal reversed. The court dismissed the board's contention that its rule construing the sales tax law to exempt the sale of nonreturnable containers to original users was erroneous and contrary to the terms of the Retail Sales Act. The rule did not purport to exempt the sale of nonreturnable containers from taxation; it merely interpreted the statute by explaining that the sale of nonreturnable containers to persons who placed commodities to be sold in such containers was not a retail sale and was therefore not taxable. There was no provision in the statute requiring a tax to be paid upon such transactions, and the sales of barrels and kegs by the cooperage companies to the taxpayer clearly fell within the board's rule.
The court reversed the judgment of the trial court requiring the taxpayer to pay sales tax on wooden barrels and kegs used as nonreturnable containers for its product.
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