CASE SUMMARY: John Paff v. Township of Moorestown

Case Name: John Paff v. Township of Moorestown, et al
Docket Number: BUR-L-340-16
County: Burlington
Filing Date: February 16, 2016
Presiding Judge: Ronald E. Bookbinder
Status: OPRA loss/OPMA win. The case is currently on appeal.

 

Overview:

This case presents the issue of whether the minutes of an October 19, 2012 public meeting of the Moorestown Ethical Standards Board were “deliberative” and thus exempt under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) at the time plaintiff requested those minutes on December 28, 2015, more than three years after the meeting was held. Judge Bookbinder deemed the minutes “deliberative” because the Board had not yet “approved” them at the time the OPRA request was received.

Judge Bookbinder found, however, that the Ethical Standards Board did violate the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) by not making its meeting minutes “promptly available” to the public. He ordered that the Board, going forward, “must annually approve and release all prior unapproved meeting minutes at its required reorganizational meeting” and that “if the Ethics Board receives a request for copies of its prior meeting minutes before this deadline, then the Board must convene a Special Meeting within thirty (30) days of the request in order to approve and release the requested minutes.”

On July 27, 2017, Plaintiff appealed from the part of Judge Bookbinder’s ruling holding that the unapproved minutes were not disclosable under OPRA.

 

Case Documents:

2016/02  Order to show cause, Complaint, Certification and Brief
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B62zIy-MpCRoclBBNTF6eXdLZGM/view?usp=sharing

2017/05/26  Ruling by Judge Bookbinder
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B62zIy-MpCRoVXRMZlVKaFBjeFE/view?usp=sharing

 

Press Release(s):
None

 

Related Posts:

http://njfog.org/2017/08/07/can-public-body-block-release-meeting-minutes-opra-simply-failing-approve/

http://njfog.org/2016/07/16/mercer-county-judge-rules-unapproved-minutes-exempt-opra/

http://njfog.org/2016/04/19/grcs-parave-fogg-decision-challenged-bring-unapproved-minutes-opra/

http://njfog.org/2016/03/06/lawsuit-argues-3-yr-old-unapproved-public-meeting-minutes-not-deliberative/