In this appeal of a final determination of the Office of Open Records (“OOR”), the Commonwealth Court remanded a determination granting access to the home addresses of certain members of the State Employees’ Retirement System (“SERS”).  The Court held that its decision in Pennsylvania State Education Association v. Office of Open Records, 148 A.3d 142 (Pa. 2016) (“PSEA III”) was controlling, and, as PSEA III had been issued after OOR had rendered its final determination, the matter should be remanded to allow OOR to reevaluate whether dissemination was warranted.

Vivid Autumn foliage is reflected in a still lake in the golden hour, with periwinkle sky. Image created at Nockamixon State Park in Quakertown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. "Nockamixon" may mean "in the place or soft soil" in the Lenni Lenape language. DSLR image at low ISO captures magnificent fall color warmth in a horizontal format late in the day. No people. Copy space.

Campbell filed a request under the Right-to-Know Law (“RTKL”) with SERS seeking the names and addresses of all retired SERS members whose mailing addresses were located in certain European countries. SERS issued a timely final response granting Campbell access to the names of the requested SERS members, but denying access to their addresses. Campbell appealed the final response to the OOR.  OOR issued a final determination granting Campbell access to the addresses, and SERS appealed.

On appeal, the Commonwealth Court remanded the matter. It found that its decision in PSEA III, which had been issued after OOR’s final determination in this matter was issued, was controlling.  Specifically, the decision in PSEA III dictated that OOR perform a balancing test to determine whether the members’ right to privacy outweighed the public’s interest in the dissemination of their addresses. As OOR had not performed the requisite balancing test, the Court remanded the matter for further consideration by OOR in light of the Court’s decision in PSEA III.

Click here to read: SERS v. Campbell, 871 CD 2016 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Mar. 3, 2017).

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