State Board of Equalization v. Superior Court was a case before the California Third District Court of Appeal in 1992 concerning public records.
This case established that the agreement of a requester to pay for the segregation potentially eliminates the application of the ruling of American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. Deukmejian, which exempts material whose cost of compilation outweighs the public benefit of release.
- Associated Sales Tax Consultants, INC. is a for profit group that provides tax services for individuals. They submitted a public records request to the State Board of Equalization for all documents relating to how the board administers tax laws and audits, in an attempt to improve their services. They requested everything from manuals and internal memoranda, as well as audit reports from individual audits.
- The Board rejected the request, arguing that it did not have the staff to support such a broad request, which would require a significant cost of labor to remove exempt material from the records.
- Associated agreed to pay the cost of removal. The board none-the-less rejected the request.
- Associated filed suit in superior court.
- The superior court ruled in favor of the tax company, ordering the documents segregated and released.
- The board appealed the decision of the superior court, arguing that the public interest in not hampering the free flow of government was greater than the public interest in disclosure due to the burden of excising significant information from exempt information. They further argued that removing exempted material would in fact strip all meaning from the decisions of the board and shed no light on their current working practices. 
Ruling of the court
The superior court ruled in favor of the tax company, arguing that it saw no reason why the documents could not be separated, especially considering the cost of the separation would be paid for by the company.
The court of appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court and ordered the documents release.
The court first determined that, per CBS Inc. v. Block, and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. Deukmejian, the mere inclusion of exempt material within a document, did not exempt the document but merely required segregation of that exempt material. They also determined that excision will not destroy the meaning of the documents, as is evident by past releases of documentation made by the board to the tax company. The court further determined that the commercial purpose for which the company intended the information was irrelevant under California law. Further, Associated's willingness to pay the cost of separation removed any public interest in the expense of excessive funds to fulfill a records request. The court thus determined that the case did not meet the requirements for exemption established by American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. Deukmejian because the public interest in release clearly outweighed any public interest in withholding the request based on the scope and effort required to prepare the request for release. 
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Ruling of the Court