Attorney-client privilege stymies lawyer’s bid to get information from Colorado Springs Utilities

From The Gazette (Colorado Springs): Attorney-client privilege was cited as the latest reason a Monument lawyer cannot obtain air-quality information from Colorado Springs Utilities, a judge ruled this week.

Leslie Weise said she sought the records because her son’s charter school in Colorado Springs is in the Drake emissions plume, and she wants to ensure that the air is safe for children.

Fourth Judicial District Judge Edward S. Colt ruled Thursday that the publicly owned Utilities “reasonably anticipated litigation and adversary proceedings to be held before administrative agencies.”

This is the second court to refuse release of sulfur dioxide records to Weise, a clean-air advocate concerned about emissions from the Martin Drake Power Plant.

A federal decree issued last year ordered the state to review sulfur dioxide levels in the Pikes Peak region. Modeled analyses by two other professional firms showed violations of the SO2 standards while Utilities’ monitor showed the levels well within compliance.

Weise wants to know what AECOM Technical Services Inc., an air quality services vendor, found. Rick Griffith, of the City Attorney’s Office, told the court that AECOM was retained to provide “legal advice to Utilities.”

So attorney-client privileges apply as an exception under the Colorado Open Records Act, Griffith said.

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