Washington Supreme Court Holds Federal Privacy Rights Can Prevail Over State Public Records Act Disclosures

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On November 4, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision holding that federal banking privacy rules will apply to prevent release of documents otherwise disclosable under the Washington Public Records Act ("PRA"). In Ameriquest Mortgage Company vs. Washington State Office of the Attorney General, a unanimous Court, for the first time, addressed the circumstances of when a federal banking privacy statute might overcome the state PRA's presumption of disclosure. The result is a broadening of the potential avenues for protecting information and documents from disclosure.

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