The Daily Record covers JGL lawyers’ high-profile victory in Maryland high court

The Daily Record has published a story detailing the success of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake attorneys Alyse Prawde and Timothy Maloney in a recent case against the Montgomery County government.  The victory sets a valuable precedent in terms of the interpretation of the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA).

Joseph, Greenwald and Laake represented Bernadette Fowler Lamson, a long-time senior counsel in the Montgomery County Attorney’s office.  Lamson filed an MPIA request that sought disclosure of supervisory notes withheld by her employer and her supervisor, Silvia Kinch. Lamson asserted that the notes might have been the basis of a negative job evaluation that she received. In general, Maryland state and county employees are entitled to see their own personnel files under the MPIA.

Maloney argued the case in the Maryland Court of Appeals and attorney Alyse Prawde drafted the briefs filed in the case.

The Court of Appeals reversed the rulings of two lower courts, holding that the notes had to be reviewed by a judge to see if they should be disclosed to Lamson. The lower court had held that the notes were not subject to the MPIA because they were “in a personal journal that was never a part of [Lamson’s] personnel file and were intended to be private.”

The Court of Appeals concluded that “the mere physical location of a record is not necessarily dispositive of its characterization.  It is equally possible that the notes contain entries that relate to {Lamson’s] employment and or the devaluation of her performance rating.  In either instance, there is uncertainty regarding the nature of the records at issue and must be resolved by closely examining the notes at issue, as well as the exceptions offered thereto.”

Timothy Maloney is a principal at JGL with decades of experience in both appellate and trial litigation

Alyse Prawde is an attorney in JGL’s Civil Litigation group. Alyse earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law, at which she was honored with the Elizabeth Maxwell Carroll Cestnut Prize for her excellence in scholarship and writing. Her already impressive legal portfolio includes working as the Executive Articles Editor and the Maryland Journal of International Law and as an attorney with the Immigration Clinic.