Final Determination Record

Herald Standard v. PA Department of Corrections

OOR Dkt. No.: AP 2014-1695
Case Status: Pending in Commonwealth Court

Commonwealth

Requester seeks records regarding illnesses contracted by inmates and staff members at SCI-Fayette.

The Department of Corrections denied the Request citing the noncriminal investigative records exemption (708(b)(17)). - The Department did not meet its burden that records are exempt as noncriminal investigative records.

The records are also not exempt as medical records under 708(b)(5).

Records are not protected under HIPPA.

Appeal granted.

  • Section 708(b)(1)(i) - result in the loss of Federal or State funds
  • Section 708(b)(1)(ii) - risk of physical harm to or the personal security of an individual
  • Section 708(b)(2) - jeopardizes or threatens public safety or preparedness or public protection activity
  • Section 708(b)(5) - Medical, psychiatric or psychological records
  • Section 708(b)(6)(i) - Personal identification information
  • Section 708(b)(6)(ii) - Name, position, salary, actual compensation or other payments or expenses, employment contract
  • Section 708(b)(6)(iii) An agency may redact the name or other identifying information relating to an individual performing an undercover or covert law enforcement activity from a record
  • Section 708(b)(10) - Internal, predecisional deliberations and strategy.
  • Section 708(b)(10)(ii) Subparagraph (i)(A) shall apply to agencies subject to 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings) in a manner consistent with 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7. A record which is not otherwise exempt from access under this act and which is presented to a quorum for deliberation in accordance with 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 shall be a public record.
  • Section 708(b)(10)(iii) This paragraph shall not apply to a written or Internet application or other document that has been submitted to request Commonwealth funds.
  • Section 708(b)(10)(iv) This paragraph shall not apply to the results of public opinion surveys, polls, focus groups, marketing research or similar effort designed to measure public opinion.
  • Section 708(b)(12) - Notes and working papers
  • Section 708(b)(17) - Noncriminal investigative records
  • Section 708(b)(17)(ii) Investigative materials, notes, correspondence and reports
  • Section 708(b)(17)(iii) A record that includes the identity of a confidential source, including individuals subject to the act of December 12, 1986 (P.L.1559, No.169), known as the Whistleblower Law.
  • Section 708(b)(17)(iv) A record that includes information made confidential by law.
  • Section 708(b)(17)(v) Work papers underlying an audit.
  • Section 708(b)(17)(vi) A record that, if disclosed, would do any of the following: (A) Reveal the institution, progress or result of an agency investigation, except the imposition of a fine or civil penalty, the suspension, modification or revocation of a license, permit, registration, certification or similar authorization issued by an agency or an executed settlement agreement unless the agreement is determined to be confidential by a court. (B) Deprive a person of the right to an impartial adjudication. (C) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy. (D) Hinder an agencys ability to secure an administrative or civil sanction. (E) Endanger the life or physical safety of an individual.
  • Privileged
  • Exempt under Attorney-Client Privilege

Filings Received by OOR
Filed Adjudicator Description or File Name Document
OOR 2014-1695 Haines (Herald Standard)-Dept of Correct
2015-02-10_REQ_EnforcementAction_66MD2015.pdf
2015-03-09_AGENCY_PrelinObjection_66MD2015.pdf
2015-04-07_REQ_AnswerBriefOpposition_66MD2015.pdf
2015-04-30_AGENCY_Brief_66MD2015.pdf
2015-05-13_REQ_ReplyBrief_66MD2015.pdf
2015-06-17_AGENCY_AnswerNewMatter_66MD2015 (Part 1
2015-06-17_AGENCY_AnswerNewMatter_66MD2015 (Part 2
2015-06-17_AGENCY_AnswerNewMatter_66MD2015 (Part 3
2015-06-17_AGENCY_AnswerNewMatter_66MD2015 (Part 4
2015-06-17_AGENCY_EntryAppearance_66MD2015.pdf
2015-06-17_AGENCY_WDAppearance_66MD2015.pdf
2015-07-15_REQ_ReplyNewMatter_66MD2015.pdf
2015-10-05_REQ_BriefSupportJOP_66MD2015.pdf
2015-10-05_REQ_MotionJudgmentPleadings_66MD2015.pd
Commonwealth Court Uniontown Newspapers (Requester) filed Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
Commonwealth Court Uniontown Newspapers (Requester) filed Motion for Summary Judgment
08/08/2016 Commonwealth Court Agency filed Brief in Opposition to Petitioner's Motion for Summary Judgment
08/08/2016 Commonwealth Court of Common Pleas Agency filed Response to Petitioner's Motion for Summary Judgment
12/19/2016 Commonwealth Court Court Order - matter will proceed to trial
03/23/2018 Commonwealth Court Opinion of Judge Simpson affirming the OOR. Agency has 20 days to produce the records or face a potential $500 per day penalty, awarded $1,500 civil penalty and Requester is not precluded from seeking attorney's fees.
10/29/2018 Commonwealth Court Court Opinion_Granting Fees