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Martin v. Riverside School District No. 416

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 3

March 18, 2014

ALLEN MARTIN, Appellant,
v.
RIVERSIDE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 416, Respondent.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO PUBLISH

KEVIN M. KORSMO CHIEF JUDGE

The court has considered Riverside School District's motion to publish the court's opinion of January 30, 2014; Cowles Publishing Company's joinder in the motion to publish; and Allen Martin's response. The court is of the opinion the motion to publish should be granted. Therefore,

IT IS ORDERED the motion to publish is granted. The opinion filed by the court on January 30, 2014, shall be modified on page 1 to designate it is a published opinion and on page 8 by deletion of the following language:

A majority of the panel has determined this opinion will not be printed in the Washington Appellate Reports, but it will be filed for public record pursuant to RCW 2.06.040.

KULK, J.

A reporter from The Spokesman-Review submitted a public records request to Riverside School District for information regarding former teacher Allen Martin, including records pertaining to Mr. Martin's termination. Mr. Martin sought to enjoin the District from disclosing the requested records. The trial court found that the records did not fall under any of the claimed exemptions to the Public Records Act (PRA)[1] and ordered release. Mr. Martin appeals. He contends that disclosure of the records would violate his right to privacy, and that disclosure is barred under the employee personal information exemption and the investigative records exemption of the PRA. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the trial court's order disclosing the records.

FACTS

Mr. Martin is a teacher who taught in Riverside School District. In the fall of 2011, the District placed Mr. Martin on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct. Mr. Martin and a consenting adult, who was a former student, engaged in sexual conduct in Mr. Martin's classroom.[2] As a result of the conduct, the District served Mr. Martin with a notice of probable cause for discharge, RCW 28A.405.300, and a notice of probable cause for nonrenewal, RCW 28A.405.210.

In April 2012, Jody Lawrence-Turner, a reporter for The Spokesman-Review, submitted to the District a request for public records. The PRA request asked for "any information regarding teacher/coach Allen Martin including emails containing his first or last name, or both, within the last six months, administrative leave notification or letter, documentation regarding cause for termination, available investigative information about his actions, any memos containing his first or last name, or both and any termination documents." Clerk's Papers (CP) at 50.

The District informed Mr. Martin about the request and stated that it would disclose the requested records unless Mr. Martin sought to enjoin the disclosure.

Accordingly, Mr. Martin filed a lawsuit to prevent disclosure. The Cowles Publishing Company, which owns The Spokesman-Review, joined as a defendant.

The trial court ordered disclosure of the requested records. The court found that the exceptions cited by Mr. Martin did not apply. Mr. Martin appeals the trial court's decision. During pendency of this appeal, an ...


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