Court Documents

Colfax, Washington

On June 9, 2009 Elsevier sued Washington State University in Whitman County Superior Court. Proceedings took place in the courthouse located in the county seat, Colfax, Washington (population 2751) in the Palouse region of Washington, near the Idaho border.
The Washington State Open Public Records Act states that
"Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection and copying all public records, unless the record falls within ...specific exemptions." These specific exemptions are listed online in the text of the act.
Elsevier hired a team from one of Seattle's oldest and best-known law firms, Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP to represent them. Their task was to convince the court that the financial terms of a contract by a state university for the purchase of academic journals from a  commercial publisher were exempted from the state open records act. Elsevier's attorneys presented several documents, including a complaint, a motion for injunction, and a supporting statement by James Tonna, Elsevier's Vice President for Marketing and Sales in the Americas. They presented documents recommending that the judge should make these findings and reach this conclusion. Elsevier supplied the court with a redacted version of their contract which they were willing to make publicly available.
Frank Hruban, of the Washington State Attorney General's office prepared the brief on behalf of Washington State.
Elsevier's attorneys prepared the following reply to the defendant's reponse.
The judge was not convinced by Elsevier's arguments and dismissed the action and all claims.