¶ 1 Derek E. Gronquist appeals several superior court orders and findings entered in his Public Records Act (PRA)
I. PRA REQUESTS TO DOC
A. July 30, 2007 Request
¶ 2 On July 24, 2007, DOC inmate Derek E. Gronquist sent a PRA request to DOC seeking:
Clerk's Papers (CP) at 252-53. Gronquist clarified that "`undocumented alien worker'" meant "any person who is not a [U]nited [S]tates citizen and who does not possess a current and valid work permit or similar document authorizing such person to be employed in the [U]nited [S]tates." CP at 253. DOC received this request on July 30. The next day, DOC responded that it had no records to disclose in response to Gronquist's request because DOC's Class II Industries program did not identify offenders by citizenship and citizenship was not a part of its employment process.
B. August 9, 2007 Request
¶ 3 On August 9, DOC received from Gronquist a second, unrelated PRA request to DOC dated August 5, stating:
CP at 215-16. In response to this request, on October 26, DOC staff (1) mailed Gronquist 96 pages of documents, from which 1 page was inadvertently missing; and (2) claimed that the surveillance video recordings were exempt from PRA disclosure under former RCW 42.56.420(2) (2005), providing a brief explanation for this claimed exemption. On November 2, the Stafford Creek Corrections Center intercepted this mail and withheld 39 pages of documents and 11 photographs in accordance with DOC's mail rejection policy.
¶ 4 Eventually DOC released these intercepted documents to Gronquist during the discovery process in an unrelated case. Gronquist did not alert DOC about the single missing page from the 96 pages it had provided. When DOC later learned about the missing page through Gronquist's lawsuit, it located and supplied it to him.
II. JUDICIAL REVIEW
¶ 5 On June 12, 2009, Gronquist filed a motion for judicial review under the PRA, asking the superior court to require DOC to "show cause" why "disclosure of requested public records should not be compelled and sanctions imposed" for DOC's alleged PRA violations. CP at 429. On July 27, Gronquist filed a complaint in superior court, claiming DOC had violated the PRA in (1)
A. December 18, 2009 PRA Order, Findings, and Penalty
¶ 6 On December 18, 2009, the superior court ruled that (1) DOC had violated the PRA by inadvertently withholding one page of the documents it had provided in response to Gronquist's August 9, 2007 PRA request; (2) DOC's omission had not been in bad faith; (3) Gronquist had failed to request identifiable records when he requested information about undocumented alien workers (because "records in the form requested did not exist"); and (4) DOC properly withheld surveillance video tapes from disclosure under RCW 42.56.240(1).
¶ 7 Arguing fraud, Gronquist later moved to vacate the superior court's December 18 order. The superior court denied this motion.
B. Motion To Dismiss; January 3, 2011 Order
¶ 8 On October 8, 2010, DOC moved to dismiss Gronquist's PRA action under CR 12(b)(6). DOC argued that (1) the superior court had resolved all of Gronquist's PRA claims in its December 18, 2009 show cause order; and (2) the superior court should dismiss Gronquist's remaining art. 1, § 5 claim as a matter of law because (a) violations of the Washington Constitution are not independently actionable torts, and (b) Gronquist had no protected interest in receiving uncensored mail in prison. On January 3, 2011, the superior court granted the motion in part and dismissed all of Gronquist's PRA claims except his claim for injunctive relief from DOC's withholding a portion of his incoming mail "without legitimate peneological [sic] reasons." I CP at 98-99.
C. Motion To Amend; February 27, 2012 Order
¶ 9 On January 31, 2012, Gronquist moved for leave to file a second amended complaint, restating his previously resolved and dismissed PRA claims, but adding an allegation that DOC had violated the PRA by failing to conduct an adequate search for records. On February 27, the superior court (1) denied Gronquist's motion as untimely; and (2) dismissed Gronquist's sole remaining art. I, § 5 claim with prejudice because he had stated in his memorandum that his art. I, § 5 claim was "moot."
¶ 10 Gronquist appeals the superior court's (1) December 18, 2009 findings and penalty order
I. RCW 42.56.565(1): ABSENCE OF BAD FAITH BARS PRA PENALTY FOR PRISONER
¶ 11 Gronquist challenges the amount of the superior court's December 18,
¶ 12 The question of whether the PRA authorizes a trial court to reduce the penalty period is a question of law, which we review de novo. Yousoufian v. Office of Ron Sims, 152 Wn.2d 421, 436, 98 P.3d 463 (2004).
¶ 13 RCW 42.56.565(1) provides:
¶ 14 Generally, a "final judgment" is a judgment that ends all litigation, including appellate review, leaving nothing for the court to do but to execute the judgment. Anderson & Middleton Lumber Co. v. Quinault Indian Nation, 79 Wn.App. 221, 225, 901 P.2d 1060 (1995) (citing Catlin v. United States, 324 U.S. 229, 233, 65 S.Ct. 631, 89 L.Ed. 911 (1945)), aff'd, 130 Wn.2d 862, 929 P.2d 379 (1996). But the legislature did not specify whether its statutory reference to a "final judgment" in the comment to RCW 42.56.565(1) encompasses this broad concept of complete and final adjudication of an issue, including exhaustion of appellate review. See In re Skylstad, 160 Wn.2d 944, 948-49, 162 P.3d 413 (2007) (judgment becomes final "when all litigation on the merits ends," interpreting RCW 10.30.090 in criminal context).
¶ 15 This broad interpretation of "final judgment" is consistent with several recent Washington cases addressing RCW 42.56.565. See Franklin County Sheriff's Office v. Parmelee, 175 Wn.2d 476, 481 n. 5, 285 P.3d 67 (2012) (contemplating the superior court's application of RCW 42.56.565 on remand, notwithstanding its being enacted after the plaintiff sought interlocutory review), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 2037, 185 L.Ed.2d 899 (2013); DeLong v. Parmelee, 164 Wn.App. 781, 786-87, 267 P.3d 410 (2011) (applying RCW 42.56.565(1) on appeal to bar an inmate's recovery of PRA penalties, notwithstanding its being enacted after the original trial), review denied,
¶ 16 In 2011, while Gronquist's PRA claims were awaiting appellate review, our legislature promulgated RCW 42.56.565(1), accompanied by a "final judgment" limitation in the related comment; thus, no "final judgment" has yet been entered in his action. Gronquist is serving a criminal sentence. And the superior court found no bad faith in DOC's inadvertently omitting one page from the documents it provided in response to Gronquist's second PRA request. Thus, RCW 42.56.565(1) applies to bar his claim for PRA penalties. Holding that because Gronquist is not statutorily entitled to any amount of PRA penalties, we do not further consider his argument that the penalty amounts the superior court awarded him were too small. DOC did not cross appeal this award, thus, we must leave the superior court's PRA penalty intact.
II. SURVEILLANCE VIDEO RECORDINGS; STATUTORY EXEMPTION
¶ 17 Gronquist next argues that the superior court erred in concluding that the surveillance video recordings he requested on August 9, 2007, were exempt from disclosure. Again, we disagree.
¶ 18 We liberally construe the PRA in favor of disclosure and narrowly construe its exemptions. RCW 42.56.030. The PRA requires agencies to disclose any public record upon request unless an enumerated exemption applies. Sanders v. State, 169 Wn.2d 827, 836, 240 P.3d 120 (2010); RCW 42.56.070(1). The burden of proof is on the agency to establish that a specific exemption applies. Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane County v. County of Spokane, 172 Wn.2d 702, 715, 261 P.3d 119 (2011).
¶ 19 Gronquist's August 9, 2007 PRA request sought "surveillance video of C-unit from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. of June 17, 2007" and "surveillance video of the chow hall used for C-unit inmates on and for the [b]reakfast meal on June 17, 2007." CP at 215-16. In its response to Gronquist's show cause motion, DOC argued that the surveillance video recordings were exempt under RCW 42.56.240, which provides:
CP at 191.
¶ 20 To demonstrate how nondisclosure of these surveillance videos is "essential to effective law enforcement,"
CP at 290-91. Morgan concluded, "Providing offenders access to recordings of DOC surveillance videos would allow them to accurately determine which areas are weak or devoid in DOC's ability to capture identities in the aftermath of an incident or crime." CP at 291. The record contains no controverting evidence.
¶ 21 Under RCW 42.56.240(1), an investigative, law enforcement, or penology agency must have compiled the "[s]pecific intelligence information and specific investigative records" that the requester seeks. Secondly, the agency must show that the "nondisclosure" of the information is "essential to effective law enforcement." RCW 42.56.240(1). Gronquist does not contend that DOC is not a law enforcement agency. And, as Morgan explained, providing inmates with access to recordings of DOC's surveillance videos would allow prisoners to exploit weaknesses in DOC's surveillance system. As Division One of our court has held, "Intelligence information provided by video surveillance systems ... falls squarely within the core definitions of `law enforcement,'" thereby exempting surveillance video recordings from disclosure under RCW 42.56.240(1). Fischer v. Wash. State Dep't of Corr., 160 Wn.App. 722, 727-28, 254 P.3d 824 (2011), review denied, 172 Wn.2d 1001, 257 P.3d 666 (2011). We hold, therefore, that the superior court did not err in concluding that the surveillance video recordings Gronquist sought were exempt from the PRA's otherwise broad disclosure requirements.
¶ 22 A majority of the panel having determined that only the foregoing portion of this opinion will be printed in the Washington Appellate Reports and that the remainder shall be filed for public record in accordance with RCW 2.06.040, it is so ordered.
We concur: WORSWICK, C.J. and MAXA, J.