November 12, 2014

The Appellate Division, First Department, has upheld a Supreme Court ruling ordering New York City to disclose, under New York's Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL"), emails between the New York City Mayor's Office and former New York City School Chancellor Catherine Black. Schlam Stone client and independent journalist Sergio Hernandez first made his request for the emails when Ms. Black was selected as School Chancellor in November 2010. Since that time, the Mayor's Office has argued that communications between Ms. Black and the government dating to the period before she became Chancellor were exempt from FOIL, principally under the exemption for inter-agency and intra-agency communications. In affirming the lower court's rejection of that argument, the Appellate Division made clear that because Ms. Black was not yet School Chancellor when she was exchanging emails with the Mayor's Office, neither the inter-agency nor intra-agency exemptions applied so as to shield the emails from public disclosure. The court's order requires the disclosure of the e-mails within 15 days.
Mr. Hernandez is represented by Schlam Stone & Dolan partner Elizabeth Wolstein, counsel Michael Marcus, and associate Raffi Melkonian, who argued the appeal.

Coverage of the case can be found here: