New Jersey Update: Chris Christie’s blanket OPRA exemptions overruled

Rejections based on “Third-Party Confidentiality” won’t fly, judge says

Written by Beryl Lipton
Edited by JPat Brown

For almost a year now, state-level agencies in New Jersey have been rejecting all requests for their logs of public records requests made under the state’s Open Public Records Law (OPRA). Their justifications, as J.K. Trotter first noted in March revolved around a 2005 appellate court opinion, which mused that requesters may want their requests kept private, and related concerns of competitor advantage. The reasoning seemed totally inapplicable at best, and last Monday, the Superior Court of New Jersey agreed.

As we wrote last month, Harry Scheeler of Cape May County, represented by the ACLU of New Jersey, brought the case against the Office of the Governor and other state agencies. His history of successfully submitting such requests was very obviously disrupted by the denials, which began to appear after the Christie administration’s alleged involvement in the Fort Lee bridge closures was revealed. That case (for which the above-mentioned MuckRock article is Exhibit C), can be read here.

In light of this recent decision, MuckRock has requested that all of the rejected requests for OPRA logs be reconsidered. The court ordered that Scheeler be given his documents by August 15. You can follow any of the above requests to be alerted when we receive our copies.  

Thanks to Harry Scheeler and the ACLU for helping to bring transparency to Jersey!  


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