State Records Committee Appeal 95-09
The Salt Lake Tribune, Petitioner vs.
Utah Division of Risk Management, Respondent
DECISION AND ORDER, Case No. 95-09
Appellant, the Salt Lake Tribune, seeks an order requiring Respondent to supply "all documents pertaining to the claims reflected on [an] attached list ... including but not limited to, claim forms or any other paperwork filed pertaining to the claims, and any and all settlement documents."
Appellant was represented by Sharon E. Sonnenreich, General Counsel, and Respondent was represented by Bruce R. Garner, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Utah. The State Records Committee, having reviewed the written materials submitted by the parties and having heard testimony and argument, now issues the following decision and order.
STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR DECISION
The appeal is denied except as noted below with respect to any remaining documents constituting initial claims or final settlement agreements not already supplied, that Respondent may find in its files upon further, diligent search.
It appears that neither party has fully complied with procedural requirements governing requests for documents and responds thereto, but based on requests at the hearing of both parties and the judgment of the committee, all allegations of procedural defects are deemed waived, and the case is hereby decided on the merits. Any records of Respondent that constitute initial claims or final settlement agreements are not "protected" under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(23)(Supp. 1995), but are "public" unless otherwise restricted under the Government Records Access and Managemental Act (GRAMA). See Utah Code Ann. 63-2-201(1) and (2) (Supp. 1995); Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(32)(Supp. 1995). Respondent asserts it has already supplied all of those records of initial claims and final settlement agreements it has found in its files and Petitioner acknowledges it has received certain copies of initial claims or final settlement agreements, or both, but argues there are more. Respondent shall supply to Petitioner at a cost indicated by statute copies of any additional public records of initial claims and final settlement agreements it may find upon further, diligent search of its records.
Under Utah Code Ann. 63-2-304(23)(Supp. 1995), all records Respondent has of investigations of loss occurrences and analyses of loss occurrences that may be covered by the Risk Management Fund are "protected," including records of investigations that are closed, and shall not be released to Petitioner.
WHEREFORE, it is ordered that Appellant's appeal is denied, except as indicated above with regard to any remaining records of initial claims or final settlement agreements not already supplied by Respondent that Respondent may find upon further, diligent search of its records.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Either party may appeal this Decision and Order to district court. The petition for review must be filed no later than 30 days after the date of this order. The petition for judicial review must be a complaint. The complaint and the appeals process are governed by the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure and by Utah Code Ann. 63-2-404(Supp. 1995) and 63-2-502(7)(Supp. 1995). The Court is required to make its decision de novo. In order to protect its rights of appeal, a party may wish to seek advice from an attorney.
Entered this 18th day of October, 1995.
MAX J. EVANS,
Chair, State Records Committee