By Miranda S. Spivack.
A nonprofit organization will be repaid for legal fees it incurred to defend the public’s right to public records about a Los Angeles transit authority contract with a Canadian bus manufacturer.
Jobs to Move America, which urges state and local governments to do business with companies that hire locally and pay livable wages, had requested data to determine whether the company, New Flyer, was living up to its hiring and wage commitments.
In a ruling late last month, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel awarded $170,000 in legal fees to Jobs to Move America, to be paid by New Flyer, which had sued the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. The bus company was trying to block public release of data about the company’s compliance with hiring and wage commitments it made when it signed a $500 million deal in 2013 to sell buses to the transit agency.
The transit agency did not oppose the company’s move to block the release of the records. So Jobs to Move America stepped in to try to enforce the law.
The fee award came in what is known as a reverse Freedom of Information Act case. It followed Strobel’s October ruling that the transit agency was required to give the public detailed information about job creation and wages, despite objections from New Flyer, which claimed the data were proprietary and trade secrets.