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In re Change to Win

Topic(s): Government Transparency – FOIA
Date Of Involvement: 03/12/2010
Docket: 09-1037

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Description:

Change to Win requested a contract between a public agency in Texas and its vendor, Caremark, a pharmacy benefits management company, under the Texas Public Information Act. After the agency and Attorney General decided to release the contract, Caremark sued the AG and Change to Win intervened in the lawsuit. Caremark then sought extensive discovery on Change to Win, including about its motivation for making the public information act request at issue in the case and past requests for public information in Texas and other states. Caremark also sought the names of individuals and groups with whom Change to Win had communicated about Caremark contracts. The lower court ordered such discovery, and the appeals court declined to reverse the order. Change to Win petitioned the Supreme Court of Texas for a writ of mandamus, or instruction to the lower court to reverse its order.

Public Citizen, along with Texans for Public Justice and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, filed an amicus brief supporting Change to Win's petition for mandamus, arguing that public information requesters should not be forced to reveal information about themselves to obtain public records, that the discovery ordered is irrelevant to the issues in the case, and that requiring Change to Win to produce names of members, coalition partners, and other associates would violate its First Amendment rights. The Texas Supreme Court denied the petition.