Search Site
Menu
Court Rules that Unfiled Discovery Documents are Exempt from OPRA

A New Jersey Court recently ruled in Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP v. New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Law No. L-63-09, N.J. Super., Mercer Co., that unfiled discovery documents are exempted from disclosure under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

The law firm of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP pursued transcripts from the depositions of environmental experts in another case involving the NJDEP. The firm needed the transcripts for use in defending its own clients in other litigation. They sought the full transcripts by way of an OPRA request to the New Jersey Division of Law in 2008. After the Division of Law denied the request on the ground that discovery materials not filed in court are exempt, the firm filed an order to show cause seeking the documents under OPRA and the common-law right of access. The court ultimately found that the state’s interest in protecting the information within those transcripts outweighed the public’s need for it.

The judge in the case reasoned that the transcripts “provide an intimate look into the thoughts and mental processes of the attorney,” and allowing access to them would make Drinker, Biddle & Reath “privy to the mental processes and strategy of the attorneys representing the State.” This would place the NJDEP at a “severe disadvantage,” as it would have no reciprocal right to the unfiled discovery in the custody of Drinker Biddle and other private attorneys who represent parties in environmental litigation. This, according to the judge, could ultimately affect agency decision-making and the investigation of polluters.

The attorneys of Lieberman & Blecher are experienced environmental litigators who deal in a variety of environmental case matters; from toxic torts and hazardous site cleanups, to the representation of municipal and government entities, our attorneys work tirelessly to serve our clients.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Attorneys

Recent Twitter Posts

  • 44 acres of forest preserved in Byram. https://t.co/Or5pMiHxxE
    4 weeks ago
  • Federal Court Rules Gas Pipeline Company Can Start Taking Land. https://t.co/NSRzQjQYwh
    1 month ago
  • Ridgewood Water prepares to sue corporation over chemical contamination. https://t.co/n3R1PcF1Og
    1 month ago
  • Owners of rural NJ cabins still do not know if they can keep them. https://t.co/tKh1WqjZFS
    2 months ago

Recent Blog Posts

Terranova vs. General Electric Pension Trust: Clarifying (or complicating) defenses under the Spill Act

On January 4, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division handed down a decision in Terranova vs. General Electric Pension Trust, Docket No. A-5699-16T3 (hereinafter, “Terranova”). In Terranova, The New Jersey
Read More
Terranova vs. General Electric Pension Trust: Clarifying (or complicating) defenses under the Spill Act

A “New Day” in New Jersey Environmental Law and Enforcement: Environmental Justice and Natural Resource Damage Cases Take Flight Under New Administration Watch

By: Michael C. Kondrla, Esq.1 In August, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) announced the filing of six lawsuits focused on contaminated properties, three of
Read More
A “New Day” in New Jersey Environmental Law and Enforcement: Environmental Justice and Natural Resource Damage Cases Take Flight Under New Administration Watch

NJ Supreme Court Sees Standing in Tax Lienholders to Challenge Municipal Approval

On August 2, 2018, New Jersey’s Supreme Court held that a holder of a municipal tax lien may have standing to challenge a local planning board’s approval for a neighboring
Read More
NJ Supreme Court Sees Standing in Tax Lienholders to Challenge Municipal Approval

The Downside to Higher Ground: Appellate Division affirms finding of a townhome owner’s negligence and responsibility for water damage to a below unit caused by a prolonged leaking washing machine hose

On August 1, 2018, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division ruled in favor of plaintiff in the matter captioned Joseph S. D’Elia v. Joyce Campisi and Liberty Mutual
Read More
The Downside to Higher Ground: Appellate Division affirms finding of a townhome owner’s negligence and responsibility for water damage to a below unit caused by a prolonged leaking washing machine hose

In the media

  • Gulf Coast Town Center facing foreclosure

    Naples Daily News, September 16, 2015

    Wells Fargo filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 against an affiliate of CBL & Associates, the owners of the decadeold, 1.2 million-square-foot mall in south Fort Myers for a $190.9 million unpaid loan. The center has 94 stores on 204 acres, with such anchors as Super Target, Belk, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls and Costco...

    Read More
  • Town liable for private company's leaking underground tanks, court rules

    NJ.com Jul 26, 2017

    CRANFORD -- A couple that owned a businesses in town and became sick from leaking underground tanks owned by an adjacent business can sue the township for damages because the tanks were partially ...

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
Contact Our Firm

Quick Contact Form