News Details

Manning & Kass Launches Initiative to Defend Privacy of Police Personnel Records

April 21, 2021

Manning & Kass is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative to protect the rights of the men and women who selflessly protect our communities from harm. In response to the California Legislature’s weakening of the privacy rights of law enforcement personnel, the firm has founded the Pitchess & Police Records Advocacy, Instruction, and Defense (“RAID”) Unit to prevent further erosion of these critical protections and to advocate for the restoration of protections that have been lost.

The founding of the RAID Unit, which will be led by Los Angeles Partner Tony M. Sain and housed in the firm’s Governmental Entity Liability practice area, is the formalization of work firm attorneys have been engaged in since 2019. That year, the California Legislature passed two laws – SB 1421 and AB 748 – that make it substantially easier for plaintiffs in civil suits to gain access to the confidential employment records of law enforcement personnel and make officers’ private information publicly available. 

“Tony and the team have been doing this work on behalf of law enforcement since the moment these laws passed,” said Governmental Entity Liability Practice Area Leader Eugene P. Ramirez. “Creation of the RAID Unit underscores our firm’s dedication to the men and women who protect us and makes it easier for agencies to find the help they need to navigate these complicated, and often confusing, new laws.” 

While the strategy adopted by the initiative is in service of the firm’s law enforcement clients, the results will benefit law enforcement agencies and personnel statewide. By focusing on an aggressive, coordinated litigation strategy for Pitchess motions, California Public Records Act ("CPRA") requests, and related civil discovery, the RAID Unit works to synchronize our clients' records privilege defense across multiple venues while seeking to preserve or restore vital protections from discovery or disclosure in the manner most favorable to all law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Sain is a veteran trial lawyer and appellate advocate who is one of California’s leading experts on Pitchess privilege law and its complex intersection with the CPRA disclosure requirements. A graduate of Princeton University's elite School of Public and International Affairs, he has authored a book examining Pitchess privilege law and its newfound nexus with evolving CPRA law in California. Now in its third edition, his work is widely considered to be the definitive treatise on the topic. Mr. Sain has also been a featured speaker at conferences, workshops, and panel discussions on Pitchess privilege and CPRA law, most recently completing a tour of speaking engagements throughout California, presented in partnership with the California Peace Officers’ Association.