Government agencies can’t deny public records requests because they’re automatically published online, Monmouth County Superior Court Assignment Judge Lisa P. Thornton ruled.
Our ongoing dispute with Monmouth County has been resolved in favor of OPRAmachine and our users with the recent ruling from Judge Thornton.
Last summer, Monmouth County started refusing public records requests submitted by users of OPRAmachine. They adopted a new policy that stated they will deny any public records requests that are submitted through a service that automatically publishes their response online, demanding that users provide direct personal email addresses instead.
All of the county’s arguments in support of the denials authorized under the new policy were rejected by Judge Thornton.
“The County’s new policy inappropriately shifts the responsibility to protect a citizen’s privacy to the requestor, and does nothing to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of confidential records,” Judge Thornton ruled. “Defendants fail to acknowledge that documents processed with a personal email address can be immediately uploaded to the internet.”
We are thankful for all of those who have supported us in the ongoing battle for government transparency and OPRA compliance, namely our legal counsel for this matter, Walter Luers, Esq.
Now that the county can no longer discriminate against OPRAmachine users, what will you request?
You can listen to the oral argument that took place for this case back in November, 2018 below: