Access to Justice

While an AORO’s Attestation Affidavit can be sufficient proof of a thorough search and a complete response, Affidavits that contain “a generic determination or conclusory statements are not sufficient to justify the exemption of public records.” Jeffrey Krug v. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Final Determination No. AP 2018-1599, Pa. O.O.R.D. November 21, 2018.  In Krug, the University AORO’s Affidavit was deemed insufficient by the OOR because it failed to provide sufficient factual basis to evidence…
  The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has posted Cambria County Judge Krumenacker’s Opinions and Orders in the matters listed below.  Click here for access:   2017-0050   2017-0534   2017-0399 2017-0050 06/29/2017 DeBartola v. Cambria County District Attorney’s Office Request sought various records relating to drug expenditures and employee information. 2017-0534 06/22/2017 DeBartola v. Cambria County Request sought DUI account information and audit reports 2017-0399 04/25/2017 DeBartola v. Cambria County District Attorney’s Office Request…
“Four rulings spread across more than 100 total pages” were recently issued by Cambria County President Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III concerning RTKL requests made by Johnstown resident John DeBartola, according to a November 20, 2018 edition article in The Daily American/OurTown Johnstown.  An Office of Open Records Final Determinations database search shows 24 matters involving DeBartola in 2016 and 2017, and three listed as pending in Common Pleas Court as shown in this chart; 2017-0050
In August 2018, Berks County Common Pleas Judge James M. Lillis ordered the City of Reading to pay $12,071.75 in legal fees to a requester and in October 2018, Commonwealth Court Judge Simpson ordered Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to pay $118,458.37 in legal fees to a  requester.  On November 26, 2018, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records issued one of its periodic email topic alerts reporting on and linking to these two Court decisions.  The…
For anyone interested in knowing more about the PA Right to Know Law (RTK Law), the first step should be the website of the PA Office of Open Records (OOR). The website of the OOR has a wealth of information, such as links to: (i) the text and legislative history of the PA RTK Law; (ii) a list of key decisions of the PA Supreme Court and Commonwealth Court interpreting the PA RTK Law;…
A recent decision by the Office of Open Records (OOR) is useful for its explanation of several basic aspects of the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). See Fowler v. City of Scranton, OOR, Docket No. AP 2018-1830 (Oct. 29, 2018). Issue Addressed: This matter involved a request for the City of Scranton to provide records about judgments by the City entered against any of its active or retired employees. Noteworthiness of Decision: Several procedural and substantive points made by the OOR in…
The Commonwealth Court recently required the disclosure, pursuant to the RTK Law, of the identity of the members of a panel reviewing applications for permits to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, in the matter of  Penna. Dept. of Health v. McKelvey, Comm. Ct., No. 1372 C.D. 2017 (Sept. 27, 2018). Procedural History: The Office of Open Records (OOR) rejected the argument of the Pennsylvania Department of Health that the requested records…
It remains useful to compare how the PA RTK Law compares to similar laws in other jurisdictions.  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) statutes in the State of Delaware, and also the federal counterpart statute do not generally allow access to criminal investigations.  FOIA is the name given to many RTK laws in other states. Brief Overview The premise of both the federal and Delaware state FOIA laws is that public business should be conducted in…
What is artificial intelligence? Why should it matter in the legal community? I know you’re probably thinking that artificial intelligence has nothing to do with the law. I once thought this too, but believe it or not the legal landscape is changing. With the help of artificial intelligence, lawyers can deliver better legal services. So, it only makes sense that the legal community should embrace artificial intelligence.…