Facts: Petitioner David Koenig requested all public records from respondent city of Federal Way relating to the resignation of a municipal court judge, including all correspondence to and from the presiding Federal Way municipal court judge. The City provided Koenig with 183 documents, but refused to provide the correspondence, arguing the court was not subject to Washington’s Public Records Act (PRA), CH. 42.56 RCW, according to court precedent. The City filed an injunction affirming the court was not subject to the PRA, and Koenig filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, asking the trial court to find that the PRA did apply and that the City had violated the PRA by not releasing all the requested documents. The Superior Court for King County entered a summary judgment in favor of the City, ruling that the municipal court is not subject to the PRA. The Supreme Court of Washington granted Koenig’s petition for direct review.
Question(s): To what extent does Washington’s Public Records Act apply to the judiciary and judicial records?
Conclusion: Justice Owens’ opinion for the court held that since the Court had previously determined in Nast v. Michaels, 107 Wn.2d 300 (1986), the PRA does not apply to court case files because the judiciary is not included in the PRA’s definition of “agency.” Furthermore, Koenig failed to demonstrate that the established rule is incorrect and a harmful precedent. Thus, finding that Nast continues to be good law, and that the Federal Way municipal court is not subject to the PRA as Koenig asserted, the trial court’s judgment in favor of the City was affirmed.
Docket No. 82288-3 (from King Case No. 08-2-21328-5 KNT)
Petitioner: David Koenig
(Counsel: William J. Crittenden)
Respondent: City of Federal Way
(Counsel: Ramsey E. Ramerman and P. Stephen DiJulio)
Argument: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 3:00pm
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Opinion: 167 Wn.2d 341 (2009)
Court: Alexander4 Court (2008-2009)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.