Washington’s appeals court has upheld a Thurston County judge’s dismissal of a Public Records Act lawsuit against The Evergreen State College.
Open-government advocate Arthur West initially filed the lawsuit in 2012, alleging that the college withheld records from him, and that the college “improperly used police power” to keep him off its campus.
In November 2014, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham granted the college’s motions for summary judgment and dismissed West’s claims. Wickham ruled that the college had appropriately responded to West’s records requests, and that there was no evidence that the college had tried to bar him from campus.
West has represented himself throughout the legal proceedings.
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Judge Rich Melnick drafted the Court of Appeals decision on Aug. 30. He stated that Wickham properly granted summary judgment.
In the document, Melnick outlined the details of the case:
In May 2010, West went to Evergreen to review and collect documents from a public records request. A public records officer called a college administrator and reported that West was “being abusive towards her,” and that she had asked West three or four times to “sit out in front” until she was able to finish with his request.
Evergreen Police Chief Ed Sorger and another officer arrived, but determined that the situation didn’t warrant them taking action.
Sorger reported that West calmed down when police arrived, and West requested that he be trespassed from the college. Sorger said he told West that he wouldn’t be trespassed, and that “(West) seemed disappointed and voluntarily left the area.”
The other officer made a similar report.
Three days later, West filed another public records request with the college, asking for a “list of all persons currently on the criminal trespass list.” College employees completed the request, but West failed to pick it up. The college closed the request in 2012 when West still hadn’t come for the documents.
After receiving notice that his prior request had been closed, West filed another public records request in March 2012, again asking for a list of people who had been trespassed from the college. The college responded that they would produce the records by May 4. On May 8, the college sent notice that they needed more time to process some of the information, and it would be ready May 18.
West filed his lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court on May 8. The college continued to correspond with West and provide him records until late July.
More than two years later, Wickham granted the college’s motions for summary judgment and dismissed the claims. West filed an appeal.
The appeals court upheld Wickham’s decisions. The Court of Appeals decision was signed by Melnick, Judge Linda Lee and Acting Chief Judge Bradley Maxa.