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State Supreme Court: Paralyzed cyclist due bridge records

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: State Supreme Court: Paralyzed cyclist due Montlake Bridge records

BY LEVI PULKKINEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The State Patrol must hand over accident records requested by a cyclist severely injured on Seattle’s Montlake Bridge, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Cyclist Michael Gendler suffered catastrophic spinal injuries when his front wheel was caught in the draw bridge grating. The crash left Gendler quadriplegic, unable to work full time or live independently.

Having learned that other cyclists had been injured in the same fashion, Gendler filed a public records request with the State Patrol. In response, the patrol demanded that Gendler promise not to sue the state using the information before it would hand over the documents.

In a 7-2 decision, the state’s highest court found the State Patrol is required to turn over the documents and is not entitled to demand Gendler not use them in a civil lawsuit.