The following is a list of currently pending appeals that present significant OPRA issues.
-North Jersey Media Group v. Lyndhurst
As discussed here, a few weeks ago the Appellate Division issued a landmark opinion upholding the confidentiality of criminal investigatory records. The requestor, North Jersey Media Group (The Record), announced that it would appeal to the Supreme Court.
-Gannett v. Borough of Raritan
This appeal involves several issues concerning access to records in electronic format and the amount a public entity may charge the requestor for converting the records to that format. The case is especially notable because the court is also reviewing the reasonableness of the $600,000 attorney fee award granted to the plaintiff for prevailing. This is far and away the largest attorney fee award under OPRA.
-IMO NJ Firemen’s Assn Obligation to Provide Relief Applications Under OPRA
This appeal presents a novel question: whether a public body may file a declaratory judgment action asking the court to determine that it may deny an OPRA request, before the requestor has challenged the denial. The court heard oral argument a few weeks ago, so it is possible its opinion will be issued soon.
-Paff v. Bergen County
The issue in this appeal is whether the names of officers and complainants shown in police department internal affairs complaints must be disclosed.
-Paff v. Galloway Tp.
The issue in this appeal is whether the township must create and disclose a log listing all emails sent by the police chief during a 2-week period. As explained here, the key legal question presented is one that often comes up: is a custodian obligated under OPRA to create a new document from information contained in an agency’s database? The Township appealed and several organizations have joined the case as amici, including the League of Municipalities, the NJ Association of Chiefs of Police and the NJ ACLU.
-North Jersey Media Group v. Office of the Governor
In this appeal, the court is asked to determine whether judges have the authority to impose fines upon individuals who violate OPRA.