We will see where this one ends up...
JZK, Inc. Suing Thurston County Over Public Records Request
Nisqually Valley News: Local News Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By Steven Wyble firstname.lastname@example.org YelmOnline.com
JZK, Inc. is suing Thurston County, seeking an injunction to stop the release of a letter to the county from a Yelm physician.
The letter was sent by Dr. Brian Keay to Dr. Diana Yu, the health officer for the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department, regarding practices at JZ Knight’s Ramtha School of Enlightenment in Yelm. Keay, according to lawyers for JZK, Inc., was Knight’s physician at one time.
JZK, Inc. was notified by the county in an Oct. 1 letter that the county’s Board of Commissioners received a public records request for correspondence between the board and any employee of JZK, Inc. or the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, Jeffrey Grant, a lawyer for JZK, Inc., stated in court documents.
The company later learned the request was made by former RSE student Virginia Coverdale.
The letter stated the county intended to send records it found “responsive” unless a protective order was granted by the court.
Initially, the company sought to block most of the 675 pages of documents the county intended to release, because the county indicated the request was for “documents containing correspondence between … (Thurston County Board of Commissioners) and any employee of JZK, Inc., Ramtha School of Enlightenment (RSE)., etc.”
The company argued most of the documents, which included internal communication between county employees, was not responsive to the request.
Grant said Wednesday morning the company narrowed its effort to block release of the documents after seeing a copy of the public records request. He said the request sought documents referring to JZK, Inc. and its employees and Ramtha. Most of the documents did pertain to that request, he said.
The one document that JZK, Inc. still argues is exempt is the letter from Keay.
Grant said the letter has “a lot of information” about Knight’s physical and mental condition.
“The fact that he is a health care provider that was hers for awhile and then is writing to a third party without her permission, with her medical information, was completely out of bounds,” Grant said.
As far as he knows, Knight was not a patient at the time Keay sent the letter, Grant said, but he argues Keay would still be prohibited from sending such a letter.
“Once you’re somebody’s physician … you can’t share information about them with third parties without their permission,” he said.
He said the letter does not belong in the public domain as a public record.
The county argues the letter isn’t exempted. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Donald Peters states in court documents the letter “addresses concerns for students of the ‘RSE.’”
“Any reference to the person of JZ Knight is in conjunction with the concerns about the students of RSE,” he states. “This memorandum appears to be anecdotal opinions of a local doctor.
Unless it is established by the Plaintiff that Dr. Keay is the physician treating JZ Knight, and/or that any of the students of the RSE are seeking disclosure as patients of Dr. Keay, the document does not appear to be a ‘medical record’ wherein JZK, Inc. has an expectation of privacy as defined by Federal or State statutes.”
Nisqually Valley News: Local News
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