Saturday, November 28, 2015

Passaic County sued for prompt access to settlement records.

On November 23, 2015, Richard M. Gutman of Montclair filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit on my behalf seeking prompt disclosure of records regarding the settlement that resolved a lawsuit against the Passaic County Sheriff's Department.  While the lawsuit was marked "settled" by the court on October 9, 2015, the County was still denying my request as late as November 9, 2015 because the settlement agreement had not been fully signed and finalized.  Gutman's filing is on-line here.

I often write about settlements of lawsuits against public agencies and officials on my NJ Civil Settlements blog.  Newspaper reporters, after reading my blog, frequently publish articles about the settlements I discover causing that information to be distributed to a wide audience.  This lawsuit is important because being delayed several weeks or months in obtaining settlements causes them to lose news value.

The settled lawsuit at issue in my case was brought by Sergeant Daryl Walton of the Passaic County Sheriff's Department. Walton claimed he was retaliated against after investigating a complaint that Acting Sheriff Charles S. Meyers had allegedly engaged in voter fraud.

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