Supreme Court Decision in Uniontown Newspapers v. DOC

Office of Open Records LogoThis morning, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Uniontown Newspapers v. Department of Corrections.

The decision, available here, is important reading for anyone with an interest in Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law.

This case began with a 2014 request for records related to illnesses contracted by inmates and staff members at the state prison in Fayette.

In March 2018, Judge Robert Simpson of the Commonwealth Court ruled that “some of [the Department of Corrections’] noncompliance [with an OOR order] constitutes bad faith that merits statutory sanctions.”

In Oct. 2018, Judge Simpson ordered DOC to pay $118,458.37 in legal fees.

Today’s decision not only upholds that sanction, it also includes strong language about the duty of the agency, and the Agency Open Records Officer, to conduct a good faith search for records at the request stage.

The complete OOR docket sheet (2014-1695) includes much more information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.