June 16, 2009
Re: Appellate Division Rules Requestor Need Not Use Official OPRA Request Form
In the case of Renna v. County of Union, Docket No. A-0821-07T20821-07T2, the Appellate Division overruled the lower court and in effect negated a 2006 Government Records Council Advisory Opinion by holding that a written Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request with all required information in it cannot be denied because it is not made on the official OPRA form. The Court said:
“We hold that all requests for OPRA records must be in writing; that such requests shall utilize the forms provided by the custodian of the records; however, no custodian shall withhold such records if the written request for such records, not presented on the official form, contains the requisite information prescribed in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(f). Where the requestor fails to produce an equivalent writing that raises issues as to the nature or substance of the requested records, the custodian may require that the requestor complete the form generated by the custodian pursuant to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5(g).
This case can be accessed at: http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a0821-07.opn.html. If you have any questions or concerns about this communication, please contact Deborah M. Kole, Staff Attorney, at the League, ex. 137, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.