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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Landmark Payout in Washington State for Public Records Law Violations

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will pay $525,000 to three girls abused by their foster father for wrongfully withholding public records from them.  

The payout stems from a lawsuit filed by three girls who endured years of abuse at the hands of their foster father, despite complaints filed with the state's Child Protective Services.  When the girls' attorney noticed documents missing in their records request, they sued for violations of the open records laws.   A King County Superior Court judge agreed that DSHS had violate the Public Records Act by improperly withholding records from the girls.  

DSHS maintains that it did not intentionally withhold any records, but that records were missing due to technical errors in response to a voluminous records request.

The payout is the largest sum DSHS has paid in a public records case.

Get more information here

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