Fall isn’t just when school and the NFL season begin; it’s also when the New Jersey Appellate Division and Supreme Court become more active. I anticipate that the Appellate Division will issue opinions in several important OPRA cases in the next few months. There are many other significant OPRA cases on appeal, but the ones listed below have been pending for a while and are most likely to be decided by the court in the near future.
-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.
-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.
-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.