August 21, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Colorado State Treasurer Not Allowed Unfettered Access to PERA Records

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Stapleton v. Public Employees Retirement Association on Thursday, August 1, 2013.

Unfettered Access to Records—Trustee.

Plaintiff Walker Stapleton, in his capacities as Colorado State Treasurer and as a trustee of defendant Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA), appealed the district court’s order upholding the decision of the PERA Board of Trustees (Board) denying his request for unfettered access to PERA records. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

In 2010, Stapleton was elected as state treasurer. By statute, the state treasurer is one of the members of the Board. In June 2011, Stapleton wrote a letter to the Board president requesting unfettered access to PERA records. Stapleton’s request was denied.

Stapleton argued that the district court erred in ruling as a matter of law that Stapleton is not entitled to unfettered access to PERA records. Although a PERA trustee may need to access PERA records to fulfill his or her statutory duties, such access is guided by the statutory requirements that it be (1) solely in the interest of the members and benefit recipients, and (2) for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and defraying reasonable expenses incurred in performing such duties as required by law. Therefore, the Board may place reasonable conditions on, or refuse, a co-trustee’s wholesale request for information. Thus, Stapleton was not entitled to unfettered access to the PERA records that he requested.

Summary and full case available here.

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