SEATTLE — Sound Transit has billed a neighborhood group $20,000 in copying and transcript fees stemming from an unsuccessful lawsuit the nonprofit organization brought against the transit agency.
Court records show Sound Transit hired a service to copy 55,249 pages to make documents available to Save Our Valley, which claimed that the agency’s proposed light-rail line through the Rainier Valley in Seattle would discriminate against minorities.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein dismissed the case earlier this year.
Some members of the group say the charges are meant to intimidate others who may sue the agency, which has been criticized for the spiraling costs of the light-rail system.
The bill includes a charge of more than $3,000 for stamping page numbers on each copy, which Save Our Valley never requested or expected, said the group’s attorney, Michael Gendler.
He also objected to an $11,500 charge to make a set of copies for Sound Transit’s own use and $447 to label some documents confidential.
Desmond Brown, an attorney for Sound Transit, pointed out that the winner of the lawsuit is allowed to seek reimbursement for the documents, which were made specifically in response to the lawsuit.
"Save Our Valley requested 55,000 pages of documents that we had to make available to them," Brown said. "And what we’re doing is trying to recover the taxpayers’ funds that were used to make the documents available to them."
Brown said numbering pagers is standard to keep track of large documents.
The U.S. District Court clerk will review the costs. An appeal could go back to Rothstein.
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