We recently blogged about Rivera v. Union County Prosecutor's Office, where the trial court granted access to the internal affairs reports of the former Police Director of the City of Elizabeth Police Department, who was the subject of an internal affairs investigation that concluded that he used "racist and misogynistic slurs" in the workplace. As an update, the Appellate Division reversed that decision and concluded that the records were not subject to OPRA on June 19, 2020.
Unfortunately, the Appellate Division did not simply deny access under OPRA. It also concluded that the ...
Sunshine Week, which runs from March 15 to March 21, 2020, is an annual nationwide celebration of access to public information. There are many ways that you can get involved--from filing OPRA requests, to writing a letter to the editor, to attending a public meeting. On this blog, we will write several times this week about transparency topics and success we have had recently shedding light on New Jersey government!
To contact us about this blog post or discuss an OPRA denial, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the "contact us" tab above.
According to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-6, a records requestor who prevails in any proceeding shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys' fees. We have written about OPRA's fee-shifting provision before, noting that without the fee-shift most requestors would not have the funds to challenge denials of access. As a result, the state would be far less transparent.
On August 14, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued an important published opinion relating to OPRA's mandatory fee-shifting provision.
The case, titled Golden v. New Jersey Institute for ...
Last week, Bergen County Assignment Judge Bonnie J. Mizdol issued an opinion finding that the Borough of North Arlington unlawfully imposed a special service charge upon a records requestor who sought records from the Borough's Facebook pages.
The OPRA request at issue in Wronko v. North Arlington sought the list of individuals who had been banned from the Borough's Facebook page, as well as a list of any words that had been censored and the list of page administrators. In response, the Borough insisted it needed to use an outside IT consultant to capture the screenshots necessary to ...
The New York Times has published an article about the serious lack of transparency regarding the proposals that cities have submitted bids to Amazon for their HQ2 Headquarters. Despite the fact that the taxpayers of the winning city will be on the hook for billions of dollars in incentives, too many cities are still keeping the public in the dark about what Amazon is being offered.
The article references our lawsuit, which secured access to the City of Newark's bid, which we published.
CJ Griffin of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden Submitted Amicus Curiae
Brief on Behalf of Non-profit Organization
in Brennan v. Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
Hackensack, NJ (May 23, 2018) – The Supreme Court of New Jersey has issued its opinion in Brennan v. Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, in which Pashman Stein Walder Hayden partner CJ Griffin submitted an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Libertarians for Transparent Government, a non-profit organization. The Court’s decision today provides important guidance to lower courts on how to apply the Open Public ...
Update: We have written extensively about this topic since this blog was published in 2015 and have filed successful suits for Facebook records. For updated content, click here, here, and here.
As the number of public agencies with a social media presence grows, questions arise regarding whether the content of the social media sites is a “government record” subject to OPRA. We believe that it is.
OPRA defines government records very broadly and includes “information stored or maintained electronically.” This should cover posts made on a public agency’s official ...
We have blogged before about a public agency’s requirement under the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) to make its meeting minutes “promptly” available to the public. Our courts have held that minutes must be made available within two weeks after a public meeting or, at a minimum, at least 48-hours prior to the next meeting. Those who regularly file requests for meeting minutes, however, are well aware that overwhelmingly public agencies fail to meet this timeline. Indeed, many, if not most, public agencies are months behind on releasing minutes to the public.
One such agency is ...