City officials on Tuesday evening settled two lawsuits over Open Public Records Act (OPRA) violations paying out $9,300.
A city resident Orington Reid sought records through OPRA requests from the city but was denied the documents resulting in a lawsuit. The city subsequently provided Reid the requested documents after an action was filed in the Passaic County Court’s Law Division.
Reid’s suit was settled for $6,300. Similarly, the Paterson Times was denied access to several government records resulting in the second lawsuit that was settled on Tuesday. The city settled the suit for $3,000.
Reporter Jayed Rahman submitted requests that went unanswered for over a month, according to the lawsuit. Rahman submitted requests in May that were unanswered until July. OPRA requires a municipality to hand over public documents no later than seven days. The law was enacted by the New Jersey Legislature in 2001 to replace the old Right to Know Law.
The law grants the public unfettered access to all government records except those specifically excluded in the law such as some police internal affair records.