Buy This Entire Record For
Washington Public Employees Association v. Washington State Center For Childhood Deafness & Hearing Loss
Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2
October 31, 2017
WASHINGTON PUBLIC EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, UFCW LOCAL 365, a labor organization, and PROFESSIONAL & TECHNICAL EMPLOYEES LOCAL 17, a labor organization, Petitioners,
WASHINGTON STATE CENTER FOR CHILDHOOD DEAFNESS & HEARING LOSS, and EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION d/b/a FREEDOM FOUNDATION, et al. Respondents. INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, LOCAL 76, a labor organization, and UNITED ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 32, a labor organization, Petitioners,
STATE OF WASHINGTON, WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & INDUSTRIES, and EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION d/b/a FREEDOM FOUNDATION, Respondents. TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 117, a labor organization, Petitioner,
STATE OF WASHINGTON; CHRISTOPHER LIU, in his capacity as DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF ENTERPRISE SERVICES; DICK MORGAN, in his capacity as SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; and EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION d/b/a FREEDOM FOUNDATION, Respondents. SERVICE EMPLOYEES FNTERNATIONAL UNION HEALTHCARE 1199NW, a labor organization, Petitioner,
STATE OF WASHINGTON; DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES, an agency of the State of Washington; DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, an agency of the State of Washington; and EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION d/b/a FREEDOM FOUNDATION, an organization, Respondents. WASHINGTON FEDERATION OF STATE EMPLOYEES, Petitioner,
STATE OF WASHINGTON; et al; and THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION d/b/a FREEDOM FOUNDATION, Respondents.
asked to determine whether the right to privacy guaranteed in
Washington Constitution article I, section 7 protects state
employees' full names associated with their corresponding
birthdates from public disclosure. Several unions
representing state employees appeal the superior court's
order denying their motions for a permanent injunction
preventing the state agencies from disclosing information
about their employees in response to a public records request
by the Freedom Foundation.
that article I, section 7 protects from public disclosure
state employees' full names associated with their
corresponding birthdates. Based on our holding, the trial
court erred by denying the unions' motions for a
permanent injunction preventing the release of the state
employees' names associated with their corresponding
Freedom Foundation (Foundation) is a non-profit political
organization. One aspect of the Foundation's campaign is
its worker education project to inform eligible state
employees that they have a constitutional right to opt-out of
paying union dues. In 2016, to further its project, the
Foundation sent Public Records Act (PRA), ch. 42.56 RCW,
requests to various state agenciesrequesting disclosure of
union represented employees' full names, birthdates, and
work email addresses.
agencies reviewed the Foundation's PRA requests,
determined that all the requested records were disclosable
and indicated that, absent a court order, they intended to
release the requested records including the employees'
full names associated with their corresponding birthdates and
the employees' work email addresses.
unions filed motions for temporary and permanent injunctions
to prevent the disclosure of the requested records. The
superior court granted the motions for a temporary injunction
to prevent the agencies from disclosing most of the requested
records. After a hearing on the motions for a permanent
injunction, the superior court concluded that no exemptions
under the PRA applied to the requested records and it denied
the motions for a permanent injunction.
unions appealed and filed an emergency motion for a stay with
this court. A commissioner of this court granted the motion
for a stay only as to the state employees' full names
associated with their corresponding birthdates.
review challenges to an agency action under the PRA de novo.
RCW 42.56.550(3); Resident Action Council v. Seattle
Hous. Auth., 117 Wn.2d 417, 428, 327 P.3d 600 (2013).
"Where the record consists only of affidavits, memoranda
of law, and other documentary evidence, an appellate court
stands in the same position as the trial court in reviewing
agency action challenged under the PRA." Robbins,
Geller, Rudman & Dowd, LLP v. Office of the Attorney
Gen., 179 Wn.App. 711, 719-20, 328 P.3d 905 (2014).
mandates the broad disclosure of public records. Resident
Action Council, 117 Wn.2d at 431. RCW 42.56.030
expressly requires that the PRA be "liberally construed
and its exemptions narrowly construed ... to assure that the
public interest will be fully protected." When
evaluating a PRA claim, we must "take into account the
policy of [the PRA] that free and open examination of public
records is in the public interest, even though such
examination may cause inconvenience or embarrassment to
public officials or others." RCW 42.56.550(3).
RCW 42.56.070(1), a government agency must disclose public
records upon request unless a specific exemption in the PRA
applies or some other statute applies that exempts or
prohibits disclosure of specific information or records.
Ameriquest Mortg. Co. v. Office of the Attorney
Gen., 117 Wn.2d 467, 485-86, 300 P.3d 799 (2013). RCW
42.56.540 allows one to seek an injunction to prevent the
disclosure of public records under the PRA. RCW 42.56.540
The examination of any specific public record may be enjoined
if, upon motion and affidavit by an agency or its
representative or a person who is named in the record or to
whom the record specifically pertains, the superior court. .
. finds that such examination would clearly not be in the
public interest and would substantially and irreparably