Dear Nutley Township,
This is a request for public records made under OPRA and the common law right of access. I am not required to fill out an official form. Please acknowledge receipt of this message.
Records requested: I seek an update of all open lawsuits where the Township of Nutley is named in as a Plaintiff, Defendant, or a third party. Closed in 2018 or 2019 and the cases or still open.
Yours faithfully, Rory
This correspondence shall serve as Nutley Township (the “Township”)’s
response to your request for access to government records pursuant to the
Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1, et seq. (“OPRA”), which was
sent via the website opramachine.com on July 28, 2019 at 10:19 PM and was
received on July 29, 2019 during the Township’s regular business hours.
Below are the Township’s responses to each said request.
“I seek an update of all open lawsuits where the Township of Nutley is
named in as a Plaintiff, Defendant, or a third party. Closed in 2018 or
2019 and the cases or still open.” Under OPRA, agencies are required to
disclose only “identifiable” governmental records not otherwise exempt;
wholesale requests for general information, to be analyzed, collated, and
compiled by the responding government entity, are not encompassed by
OPRA. See MAG Entertainment, LLC v. Division of Alcoholic Beverage
Control, 375 N.J. Super. 534, 549 (App. Div. 2005). “[T]he custodian is
obligated to search her files to find the identifiable government records
listed in the [OPRA request] . . . However, the Custodian is not required
to research her files to figure out which records, if any, might be
responsive”. Donato v. Twp. of Union, GRC Complaint No. 2005–182 (Jan.
31, 2007). Moreover, OPRA does not require Custodians to create documents
in response to requests. See Gill v. Salem County, GRC Complaint No.
2005-185 (Feb. 17, 2006). Your request for “an update of all open
lawsuits” would require both significant research that the Custodian is
not legally obligated to perform and the creation of a document that the
Custodian is not legally obligated to compile. Accordingly, your request
To the extent that you have also requested access to the above government
records under the common law, your stated interest in obtaining the
records must be balanced against the Township of Nutley’s interest in
nondisclosure. See Loigman v. Kimmelman, 102 N.J. 98 (1986). The
foregoing response to your request for access to government records
incorporates the aforementioned balancing test. Please note that "a
party's status as a litigant does not enlarge its access to government
records under OPRA”. MAG Entm't, LLC v. Div. of Alcoholic Beverage
Control, 375 N.J. Super. 534, 545-46 (App. Div. 2005). The Township of
Nutley reserves the right to raise any other grounds for denial not raised
in this response. Failure of the Township of Nutley to assert an
exemption or privilege does not act as a waiver of any grounds for denial.
Furthermore, a reviewing Court or the Government Records Council ("GRC")
may deem a denial of access to be authorized on grounds other that those
advanced by a custodian. See Paff v. Twp. of Plainsboro, A-2122-05T2,
2007 WL 957289, at *2 (App. Div., Apr. 2, 2007), affirming, Paff v.
Township of Plainsboro, GRC Complaint No. 2005-29 (March 2006). If your
request for access to a government record has been denied or unfilled, you
have a right to challenge the decision by the Township of Nutley to deny
access. At your option, you may either initiate a proceeding in the
Superior Court of New Jersey or file a complaint with the GRC by
completing the Denial of Access Complaint Form. You may contact the GRC
by toll-free telephone at 866-850-0511, by mail at P.O. Box 819, Trenton,
NJ, 08625, by e-mail at [email address], or on its website at
www.state.nj.us/grc. The GRC can also answer other questions about the
law. All questions regarding complaints filed in Superior Court should be
directed to the Court Clerk in your County.
Dear Ceci Tramontana, I seek, as always, the citation of all lawsuits. I have always received the response by citation. If the citations are refused I will file a complaint with the GRC. Life is simple Alan.
I am currently out of the office. For assistance, please email Pamela
Franco at [email address] or Eleni Pettas at [Nutley Township request email] .