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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Court Rules on Electronic Records Issue

The Mitchell decision came out today. Here is the court's synopsis of the case:

Kevin Mitchell made a Public Records Act (PRA) request to the
Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) and asked for the requested records to be
disclosed electronically. The DOC responded that it would not disclose the records electronically
because redactions would be necessary to protect information that was exempt from disclosure.
Mitchell filed suit claiming that the agency (1) improperly denied access to records without
providing an exemption statement, and (2) was required to disclose the records electronically.
The trial court ruled in favor of the DOC on both claims. We reverse and remand to the trial
court on Mitchell’s first claim, holding that the DOC violated the PRA by failing to provide an
exemption statement with its response denying access to the records in part. We affirm on
Mitchell’s second claim, holding that the DOC was not required to disclose the records
electronically. We award attorney fees on appeal to Mitchell for that portion attributable to theclaim on which he prevailed.