Manuel F. Martinez is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Walnut Creek Office. His practice focuses on labor and employment, charter school, student, technology and facilities and business issues.
He is well-versed in all areas of civil litigation, trial practice and appellate work. He has advised clients on cutting edge issues such as cloud computing, electronic records, and public private partnerships regarding web-based applications. He is also skilled in various aspects of employment law, including dismissals, discipline, investigations and employee/employer relations and negotiations. He also advises clients regarding the Brown Act, Public Records Act, Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and elections.
Mr. Martinez is experienced in all aspects of charter schools, including drafting and negotiating MOUs, charter reviews, assisting clients with Prop. 39 facility requests, charter oversight, facility issues, petition review and revocation.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Martinez served as Associate County Counsel for the County of Alameda. He successfully negotiated the settlement of several cases through formal mediation and informal discussions. As a Deputy City Attorney in Los Angeles, he conducted jury trials, researched and briefed appeals before the Los Angeles Superior Court, and regularly assisted and advised attorneys with pretrial, trial, and post-conviction matters.
Mr. Martinez has been a speaker for the California School Boards Association (CSBA), co-presented at the California Latino School Board Associations Unity Conference (CLSBA), and at the Association of Superintendents with Innovative Charter Schools.
Mr. Martinez received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School at Loyola Marymount University, where he was a member of the Scott Moot Court Honors Board. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he majored in Political Science.
Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 1036, which will allow parents and adult pupils to prevent the governing board of a local education agency from including the directory and personal information of a student and/or the student's family in the governing board's meeting minutes. SB 1036 is set to take effect on January 1, 2019.
Federal and State law define the extent to which local educational agencies (LEAs), including schools districts, c...
Governor Jerry Brown has signed new legislation banning for-profit corporations, for-profit educational management organizations, and for-profit charter management organizations from operating charter schools in California. Assembly Bill (AB) 406 takes effect July 1, 2019.
Amidst a growing nationwide movement to privatize public schools, for-profit corporations known as educational management organizations (EMOs) and charter management organizatio...
The stakes of asking a court to halt the disclosure of documents sought under a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request just got higher for private parties. California appellate courts have handed down a pair of decisions holding that private parties who sue to prevent the government agency from disclosing their personal information may be required to pay the requester's attorney fees if they lose.
The CPRA requires public entities to disclose p...
In recent weeks, media outlets have reported on immigration raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents that targeted various areas in California. These raids have focused on the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Sacramento areas. Other reports have confirmed ICE agents raiding dozens of 7-Eleven stores throughout the nation, and serving notices of inspection at 77 Northern California businesses within San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento.
As these en...
An arm of the U.S. Department of Education is warning schools and colleges to prepare themselves to address a new threat from cyber criminals hacking into schools' data systems.
On October 16, 2017, the Department's Federal Student Aid office (FSA) warned that cyber criminals attempted to extort money from school districts in Texas, Montana and Iowa by threatening to publicly release sensitive student information. According to news reports, the hacker or hackers,...
A California appeals court has found a city liable for attorney's fees after determining that a related lawsuit prompted the city to produce records during the litigation that the plaintiff had first sought through a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request.
In Sukumar v. City of San Diego, the Court of Appeal held that the City of San Diego, although acting in good faith and having ultimately disclosed all records responsive to a CPRA request, had to pay a...
Emails, text messages and other written communications sent to or from a public official's private account may be subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously in a highly anticipated decision published on March 2, 2017. (City of San Jose et al. v. Superior Court (March 2, 2017, No. S218066) ___ Cal.5th ___ < http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S218066.PDF>.)
The court held that t...
The California Supreme Court has ruled that invoices from a public agency's legal counsel are subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), with limited exceptions. Invoices for work in pending and active legal matters may generally be shielded from disclosure under the attorney-client privilege.
In Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors v. Superior Court (Dec. 29, 2016, No. S226645) ___ Cal.4th___ < http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/d...
Technology often outpaces the law. Lozano Smith attorneys have emphasized this point at numerous presentations on technology legal issues over the past decade. Occasionally, the Legislature tries to catch up with changes in technology: in 2015, such legislative changes focused on school districts, which now must enact new policies on several fronts, as discussed below. However, the law on many other local government issues remains unsettled, and is not likely to be cl...
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For some parents, volunteering at their child's school is a luxury they cannot afford. At many charter schools, however, it has been alleged that volunteering is required of families, and some families feel forced to perform service or risk penalties such as disenrollment. According to a recent advisory by the California Department of Education ("CDE"), these practices should end.
The CDE's advisory seems to have been issued in response to a recent study by Public Adv...
For years, mandated reporters were held legally responsible for reporting suspected instances of child abuse or neglect regardless of whether the employee was trained on what to look for or on the process for reporting. With the recent passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 1432, mandated reporters in the field of education must now receive annual training on how to fulfill their legal obligation to help protect children.
Under the new law, both the California Departmen...
Three new bills intended to protect students in cyberspace recently became law, including a bill that affects how educational agencies contract for technology services. These new laws are the result of a fast changing landscape educators must navigate in order to provide students with state of the art technology. Until now, state law was largely silent on the specific rules applicable to student privacy in the cyber world. In response to a demand for guidance, Assem...
Several charter schools have recently succeeded in convincing courts to intervene in the charter renewal and revocation process despite the fact that these charter schools have not exhausted their administrative appeals through county boards of education and the State Board of Education before seeking such court action. This trend could severely hamper a school district's ability to oversee and revoke charter petitions when necessary.
For example, as reported in C...
Revealing the identities of public employees is not always required under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), according to a recent court decision. With this case, public entities now have greater clarity on how to balance an individual's right to privacy against the public's right to access documents under the CPRA. (Gov. Code, §§ 6250, et seq.)
In previous decisions, such as Marken v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (2012) 202 Cal.App...
Before leaping into the technology cloud, taking a moment to look for the legal pitfalls really pays off. As cloud computing has grown, school districts have increasingly had to weigh the convenience of the new technologies against the potential challenges that come from sending confidential district information to third parties for cloud storage. Third party vendors often obtain extensive access to the district's technology systems and student and employee information...
What happens when elected officials and government employees communicate using their personal electronic devices and private accounts? If these messages relate to government business, are they subject to public disclosure under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) (Gov. Code §§ 6250 et seq.)?
In the first published appellate court decision in California addressing this issue, the court on March 27, 2014, ruled that private communications sent on perso...
In an effort to promote student safety, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson recently issued revised "Child Abuse Reporting Procedures for Parents and Guardians." These new guidelines educate parents on the types of injuries that should be reported to local authorities as a result of suspected child abuse or neglect. The guidelines also address the types of injuries that are not considered "child abuse" under the law.
Under the new guidelines, p...
At the recent California School Board's Association (CSBA) Annual Education Conference in San Diego, Lozano Smith attorneys, school district representatives, and the Contra Costa County Child Abuse Prevention Council presented on "The Board and Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting." One of the panel's themes was the need for school districts to provide adequate training and education to their staff and their student and parent populations regarding mandatory child abuse r...
Commonly referred to as Prop. 39, Education Code section 47614 requires that school districts provide facilities to charter schools. Charter schools must request facilities for the 2014-2015 school year, in writing, by Friday, November 1, 2013. Even proposed charter schools can request facilities if they submit a timely request and have their charter approved by March 15, 2014.
Once a school district receives a facilities request from a charter school, the follo...
In recent years, school districts and local governments have increasingly received California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests from out-of-state entities. This has often raised the question of the extent to which the CPRA applies to out-of-state residents or entities. In a recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that out-of-state residents do not have a federal constitutional right to obtain public records in the state of Virginia. (McBurney v. Young ...
Last month, in Smith v. City of San Jose (March 19, 2013, No. 1-09-CV-150427), a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled that voicemails, text messages, emails, and other electronic communications relating to City business, sent and received by San Jose City officials from their private electronic devices, are subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act. (Gov. Code §§ 6250 et seq.)
The overall principle of the Public Records Act is...
For the first time, a California Court of Appeal has provided guidance on how to determine the number of classrooms school districts must provide charter schools under Proposition 39 ("Prop. 39"). Under a recently issued opinion, school districts may look at their own student-to-classroom ratios, rather than looking at their gross inventory of classrooms, when determining the allocation of classrooms to a charter school. On January 4, 2013, the court certified its de...
Over the past year, the impact of recent child abuse cases has affected educational institutions on local, state, and national levels. In California, state legislators proposed several changes to strengthen existing reporting laws and Governor Brown recently signed four such bills, one of which will become effective January 1, 2013. Although three of these bills, Assembly Bill (AB) 1435, AB 1434, and Senate Bill (SB) 1264 were signed into law, the new mandated repo...
Beginning January 1, 2013, the "academic achievement" of a charter school's students will be the most important factor chartering authorities must consider when renewing or revoking a charter. Senate Bill (SB) 1290 amends various provisions of the Education Code to require chartering authorities, including school districts and county offices of education, to place greater weight on the minimum academic achievement of the charter school's pupils, and their significant ...
In a recent decision, Marken v. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Case No. B231787, the court of appeal granted public employees the right to file a lawsuit to prevent an employer from disclosing private personnel information in response to Public Records Act (PRA) requests. The court also concluded that under the PRA, complaints against employees that are substantial and well-founded must be disclosed. As the court made clear, balancing the privacy righ...