44-14-05004  <<  44-14-05005 >>   44-14-060

Relationship of Public Records Act to court rules on discovery of "electronically stored information."

The December 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide guidance to parties in litigation on their respective obligations to provide access to, or produce, "electronically stored information." See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26 and 34. The obligations of state and local agencies under those federal rules (and under any state-imposed rules or procedures that adopt the federal rules) to search for and provide electronic records may be different, and in some instances more demanding, than those required under the Public Records Act. The federal discovery rules and the Public Records Act are two separate laws imposing different standards. However, sometimes requestors make public records requests to obtain evidence that later may be used in non-Public Records Act litigation against the agency providing the records. Therefore, it may be prudent for agencies to consult with their attorneys regarding best practices of retaining copies of the records provided under the act so there can be no question later of what was and what was not produced in response to the request in the event that electronic records, or records derived from them, become issues in court.
[Statutory Authority: 2005 c 483 § 4, amending RCW 42.56.570. WSR 07-13-058, § 44-14-05005, filed 6/15/07, effective 7/16/07.]
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