NJ Supreme Court unanimously in favor of electronic records access!

In a unanimous decision issued on June 20, 2017 in John Paff v. Galloway Township, et al, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), “information in electronic form, even if part of a larger document, is itself a government record [and that] electronically stored information extracted from an email is not the creation of a new record or new information; it is a government record.” The ruling is a huge win for public records access in a world where records are increasingly maintained in electronic databases. Extraction of the information in report runs is routine for governmental agencies; the high court’s ruling makes clear that the same benefit should inure to the public.

Read more about the case in the below articles / blog posts.


Supreme Court rules that fields of data extracted from e-mails are OPRA “government records.”
NJ Open Government Notes
by John Paff
June 20, 2017


N.J. Supreme Court says government can’t hide information in electronic databases
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
June 20, 2017


NJ Law Journal
Justices: Data Fields Extracted Email Are Public Records
by Charles Toutant
June 20, 2017


Editorial: Transparency is part of a democracy
“[I]n a democratic government the right to open records and government transparency must be upheld, even when it’s inconvenient.”
June 21, 2017


Two River Times
by Jay Cook
July 4, 2017
Another article on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s significant June 20, 2017 decision in Paff v. Galloway Twp. The article also focuses on open government activism in the Monmouth County area and spotlights a few local activists who video-record their town meetings.



NJFOG’s earlier post on this topic: