Thursday, February 26, 2015
Unpublished trial court OPRA opinion.
Update: In a May 23, 2018 ruling, the Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division's July 6, 2016 ruling.
Update: In a July 6, 2016 opinion, the Appellate Division reversed the trial court's ruling.
"Unpublished opinions" are not published in the law books and are not ordinarily written about in legal periodicals. Unless somebody puts them on-line and calls attention to them, they are likely not to be located by people who may want to search for them. I think that it's important that court opinions, even if they are not precedential, are easily accessible for future use.
William J. Brennan v. Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, et al
Atlantic County, Docket No. BER-L-20832-15
Hon. Peter E. Doyne, A.J.S.C.
February 25, 2015
Click here for the court's decision.
Summary: Plaintiff sought records related to the Prosecutor's auction of seized baseball memorabilia. While several holdings were made, an interesting one regards the Prosecutor's decision to withhold access to the auction buyers' identities until after the Prosecutor contacted each buyer and received consent for disclosure of his or her identifying information. Noting OPRA's "swift timeline for disclosure" policy, Judge Doyne rejected the Prosecutor's “wait-and-see” approach. Judge Doyne also rejected the Prosecutor's attempt to have plaintiff's case dismissed because of technical issues with the complaint's verification and alleged deficiencies in the complaint.