1998 Texas Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (1998)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0070 and id is 1 raw text is: 'ffice of the Attornep 8eneral
State of Mexas
DAN MORALES
ATTORNEY GENERAL                      July 1, 1998
Mr. Stephen R. Alcom                      Open Records Decision No. 658
Assistant City Attorney
City of Grand Prairie                     Re: Whether a    final mediated
P.O. Box 534045                           settlement agreement, including
Grand Prairie, Texas 75053-4045           financial and all other terms of that
agreement, is confidential under
section 154.073 of the Civil Practice
and Remedies Code (ORQ-28)
Dear Mr. Alcorn:
In this request for an open records decision from the City of Grand Prairie (the
city), we consider whether the Open Records Act (the act), chapter 552 of the
Government Code, requires the public release of a governmental entity's mediated final
settlement agreement. A prior decision of this office addressed to the City of Bellaire
concluded that a mediated final settlement agreement is not public information based on
section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with section 154.073 of the Texas
Civil Practice and Remedies Code. See Open Records Letter No. 98-0302 (1998). We
overrule that open records letter and conclude that a governmental entity's mediated final
settlement agreement is not made confidential by section 154.073 ofthe Texas Civil Practice
and Remedies Code. Further, we decline to decide whether the act requires the public release
of portions of a final settlement agreement where the issue of the confidentiality of those
portions is pending before a court.
The city received several open records requests for final settlement agreements that
the city reached in connection with two unrelated legal actions. One settlement agreement
arose from the civil service appeal of an indefinite suspension by Mr. Blake Hubbard, a
former city police officer.' See generally Local Gov't Code ch. 143, subch. D. The other
agreement was reached during the course of a lawsuit filed in federal court against the city
by Mr. Bryan McMillen and others. See McMillen v. Clay, No. 4-97CV-0 14-A (N.D. Tex.
Feb. 13, 1998). Both of the settlement agreements resulted from mediation between the city

'The Hubbard settlement agreement includes nine attachments.

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