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 & Sinkevich 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Your email address will not be published.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

  • New Jersey sets emergency water standards for new chemicals. https://t.co/trgaaLL1mD
    8 months ago
  • How will New Jersey manage stormwater as the climate changes and flooding increases? https://t.co/dhVLALyzZ2
    8 months ago
  • Unprecedented storms are slamming NJ – learn how to be the best advocate for your clients when the next flood hits.… https://t.co/TicH6iAjP0
    8 months ago
  • Trenton Water Works has removed 25 percent of lead pipes throughout its service area. https://t.co/KUvhMsJlvU
    8 months ago

Recent Blog Posts

Two Days Community Associations Make the News for Unusual Reasons

Condo boards and home owner associations usually don't make headlines.  But sometimes they do and we have had a month filled with some unusual events First, we actually have a person
Read More
Two Days Community Associations Make the News for Unusual Reasons

Huge Climate Change Suit by Hoboken Will Stay in State Court, Not Federal Court

Perhaps 10 years ago or so we started hearing about climate change cases being filed all over the U.S.   International law firms were involved in these cases.  These lawyers lectured
Read More
Huge Climate Change Suit by Hoboken Will Stay in State Court, Not Federal Court

Environmental Citizen Suit Rosses Because Notice Was Not Sufficient

Under both state and federal law here in New Jersey, parties are entitled to file lawsuits against polluters using the environmental laws of the state. These cases are frequently called
Read More
Environmental Citizen Suit Rosses Because Notice Was Not Sufficient

Two Days Community Associations Make The News for Unusual Reasons

Condo boards and home owner associations usually don't make headlines.  But sometimes they do and we have had a month filled with some unusual events. First, in South Jersey we actually
Read More
Two Days Community Associations Make The News for Unusual Reasons

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
  • Dark Waters: How a Class Action Catapulted NJ to Forefront of 'Forever Chemicals' Battle

    NJ Law Journal Jan 09, 2020

    As property owners become increasingly aware of PFAS contamination, and as individuals exposed to PFAS learn of the health risks associated with exposure, liability will likely affect entire supply chains.

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

Quick Contact Form