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Name: In re Anthony H.
Case #: E036100
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/17/2005

Grandmother appealed from two juvenile court orders denying her petition for disclosure of the juvenile court records of her grandson under Welfare and Institutions Code section 827, for the purpose of prosecuting a federal civil action against the county and the Department. The appellate court found no abuse of discretion in the juvenile court’s first order since proceedings to determine the disclosure were pending in federal court. However, the court erred in denying the second disclosure petition on the ground that the federal court had decided the matter. The federal court had not decided the issue, and in fact had concluded the juvenile court had exclusive authority under section 827 to determine whether the records should be disclosed. Since neither court decided the issue, grandmother’s third petition was not barred by res judicata. Reversal was required with directions to the juvenile court to decide the petition on the merits. Further, grandmother’s list of documents was sufficiently specific, and she demonstrated why she needed the records to proceed.