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Supreme Court Upholds Fines Against L&I

Posted Friday, March 25, 2016 by Andrew Charles Huff

Washington’s Supreme Court has upheld nearly $503,000 in fines against the state’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for improperly delaying the release of more than 5,400 pages of public records to The Seattle Times.

The majority opinion affirms that trial judges may impose penalties for each illegally withheld page under the state’s Public Records Act.

The ruling Thursday comes after L&I appealed a King County judge’s fines against the agency for its nearly eight-month delay in releasing records about an investigation of lead poisoning at Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop launched in October 2012.

The 29-page ruling may have broader implications on the state’s public-records law by clarifying that government agencies can’t improperly delay releasing records under a provision that allows them to first notify third-parties named in such records.

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