Thomas More Society filings say federal court has
no jurisdiction to halt public records release
This week, Thomas More Society attorneys filed papers in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington seeking to lift a temporary injunction against release of public records related to the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory and its use of aborted fetal body parts. The university and lab were the recipients of an open records request as part of an investigation into their acquisition of fetal tissue
“The people have a right to know how their government is run,” explained Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “The plaintiffs here work at a taxpayer-funded state university, and their work is subject to the same sunshine and open records laws as any other government employee. We have filed papers with the court demanding the lifting of the temporary injunction against release of the public’s records and dismissal of this frivolous lawsuit.”
The attorneys for Daleiden noted the following points in documents submitted to the court:
- Public employees and those doing business with the government have no federal or state constitutional right to privacy in connection with their work for a state agency which is subject to broad open records law.
- The State of Washington’s commitment to openness in government does not allow redaction of names of public employees and those doing business with the government.
- The plaintiffs’ claims related to the public records act must be heard by the Washington state courts and not federal courts.
Daleiden and his lawyers filed two responses to the plaintiffs’ motions for temporary injunctions, a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and a declaration by Daleiden detailing the involvement of the University of Washington in aborted fetal parts research. The Thomas More Society filings assert that Washington’s Public Records Act does not allow for the restraining orders and injunctive relief requested by plaintiffs, along with detailing the lawsuit’s lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
“The abortion clinic and fetal tissue personnel who brought this lawsuit should not be allowed to prevent the people of the State of Washington from monitoring their government’s involvement in the national controversy over aborted fetal body parts,” added Breen. “These plaintiffs seek to stop release of records owned by the public, but the Washington Public Records Act requires transparency and openness, not obfuscation and delay. We are confident that the public’s right to know will be vindicated in court.”
Read last night’s filings:
- Brief in Opposition to the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction
- Defendant David Daleiden’s Opposition to the Plaintiffs’ Renewed Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order
- Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction, and for Failure to State a Claim on Which Relief May Be Granted
- Declaration Of David Daleiden Submitted In Opposition To Plaintiffs’ Motion For A Preliminary Injunction
About the Thomas More Society
The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.