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Murray v. Medical Board of California, et al.

Wrongful denial of personal information

Plaintiff alleges that the Medical Board of California wrongfully denied him personal information regarding his deceased mother, in violation of Cal. Civ. Codes §§ 1798.24-34, et seq. Furthermore, Defendants purposefully frustrated Plaintiff’s attempts to identify records and information responsive to his request, in violation of Cal. Gov. Code § 6253.1.

Claims against the Medical Board

Petitioner’s initial “presentation of claims” against the Medical Board of California for denial of personal information. The California Government Claims Act (Cal. Gov. Code § 910 et seq.) requires complainants to submit their claims to the government prior to filing a lawsuit.

Action for writ of mandate

Motion for Judgment on the Writ

Petitioner’s trial brief, which asked the court to issue a writ of mandate, pursuant to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1085, commanding the Medical Board to release all information in their possession regarding Audrey Bevan Murray’s medical condition, treatment, and the circumstances and cause(s) of her death.

The state's opposition to the Writ

The Medical Board claimed that withholding the information sought by Petitioner serves the public interest. “Obtaining the Board’s investigative materials to assist in ascertaining the cause Mrs. Murray’s death is outweighed by the Board’s need to maintain the confidentiality of investigations in order to fulfill its mandate of public protection,” Respondents claim.

Reply to Respondents' Opposition

“The interests of justice weigh strongly in favor of releasing information sought by Petitioner because the issue concerns life and death, and Petitioner has no alternate means of obtaining any explanation for his mother’s death.”

Judgment on the Writ

The court ruled that Petitioner had “failed to exhaust administrative remedies.” Thus, the case was not decided on the merits; and the substantive issues can be reconsidered in a subsequent action.

State's Demurrer to the petition

Respondents asserted that Petitioner’s claims were not ripe for review due to lack of finality and “failure to exhaust administrative remedies,” among other defenses. See Case No.: BS158575 in the court's register of actions.

Opposition to Respondents’ Demurrer

Petitioner asserted that his claims are ripe for review. Further, the state has read a legal fiction into California Public Records Act in order to deny Petitioner access to the records he seeks.

Overruling of the state’s demurrer

The court overrules the state's demurrer in its entirety. With regard to the state’s arguments that Petitioner’s claims are not ripe for review, the court stated, “These arguments lack merit.”

Amended Petition

This petition for mandamus asks the court to command the Medical Board to release all information in their possession regarding Audrey Bevan Murray’s medical condition, treatment, and the circumstances and cause(s) of her death. Filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1085 (“traditional mandate”).