New ideas considered for public records disputes



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A recent increase in large payouts from public records disputes has some in state government considering new ways to avoid costly court battles.

One idea being considered by Attorney General Rob McKenna is a proposal put together by two well-known public records attorneys to “co-mediate.” While single-person mediation already exists and is used in some cases, the idea of co-mediation allows for two mediators to represent each side, both well steeped in public records’ laws.

Greg Overstreet, an Olympia attorney specializing in media and disclosure law, said he first thought of the idea of offering co-mediation services late last year. He says his idea was affirmed by a KING 5 television investigative report that found that public records lawsuit jumped from $108,000 in 2006 to nearly $1.7 million last year.