Out-of-State Plaintiffs Covered by Open Public Records Act, New Jersey Court Says

he Appellate Division ruled on Tuesday that a person seeking records under the state’s Open Public Records Act does not have to be a resident of the state.

In a published opinion covering a trio of consolidated cases, a three-judge panel said the state Legislature, in enacting OPRA, didn’t mean for it to appeal to in-state residents only.

“[W]e conclude that the right to request records under OPRA is not limited to ‘citizens’ of New Jersey,” said Appellate Division Judge Susan Reisner for the appeals court. Judges Richard Hoffman and Jessica Mayer joined in the ruling.

The ruling involved three cases: two brought by a former New Jersey resident, Harry Scheeler, and the other by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights nonprofit organization. Scheeler, who moved from New Jersey to North Carolina in 2014, sought access to records involving lawsuits settled by Atlantic County and Cape May County. The lawyers’ committee was seeking documents relating to Atlantic City school attendance and disciplinary data. Read more…