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42.56.540  <<  42.56.550 >>   42.56.560

RCW 42.56.550

Judicial review of agency actions.

(1) Upon the motion of any person having been denied an opportunity to inspect or copy a public record by an agency, the superior court in the county in which a record is maintained may require the responsible agency to show cause why it has refused to allow inspection or copying of a specific public record or class of records. The burden of proof shall be on the agency to establish that refusal to permit public inspection and copying is in accordance with a statute that exempts or prohibits disclosure in whole or in part of specific information or records.

     (2) Upon the motion of any person who believes that an agency has not made a reasonable estimate of the time that the agency requires to respond to a public record request, the superior court in the county in which a record is maintained may require the responsible agency to show that the estimate it provided is reasonable. The burden of proof shall be on the agency to show that the estimate it provided is reasonable.

     (3) Judicial review of all agency actions taken or challenged under RCW 42.56.030 through 42.56.520 shall be de novo. Courts shall take into account the policy of this chapter 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. Courts may examine any record in camera in any proceeding brought under this section. The court may conduct a hearing based solely on affidavits.

     (4) Any person who prevails against an agency in any action in the courts seeking the right to inspect or copy any public record or the right to receive a response to a public record request within a reasonable amount of time shall be awarded all costs, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred in connection with such legal action. In addition, it shall be within the discretion of the court to award such person an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars for each day that he or she was denied the right to inspect or copy said public record.

     (5) For actions under this section against counties, the venue provisions of RCW 36.01.050 apply.

     (6) Actions under this section must be filed within one year of the agency's claim of exemption or the last production of a record on a partial or installment basis.

[2011 c 273 § 1. Prior: 2005 c 483 § 5; 2005 c 274 § 288; 1992 c 139 § 8; 1987 c 403 § 5; 1975 1st ex.s. c 294 § 20; 1973 c 1 § 34 (Initiative Measure No. 276, approved November 7, 1972). Formerly RCW 42.17.340.]

Notes:

     Intent -- Severability -- 1987 c 403: See notes following RCW 42.56.050.

Application of chapter 300, Laws of 2011: See note following RCW 42.56.565.