State officials must release the names of scores of people who have received substantial payments from the state to settle lawsuits, employment disputes, or other issues in recent years, under a Suffolk Superior Court decision Monday in a lawsuit filed by The Boston Globe.
Massachusetts officials had sought to keep confidential the names of people who receive the payments, which can range from small amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars, arguing that recipients have a right to privacy.
But Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Connors rejected the argument, saying the public has a right to know with whom the state settles legal or other claims and at what cost. He ordered a handful of state agencies to disclose the names of 89 individuals who received settlements of $10,000 or more between January 2005 and March 2010.
“Our public records law manifests a wholly parallel and equally compelling specific interest on the part of the Commonwealth’s citizens to be able to monitor and to evaluate the affairs of their government,” wrote Connors.
A spokeswoman for Governor Deval L. Patrick said attorneys for the administration have not had time to review the decision and could not comment on whether the state would appeal.
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