This 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.