"With broad public access to information about how state and local governments operate, citizens and the media can play a watchful role in curbing wasteful government spending and guarding against corruption and misconduct." New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Rabner, Burnett v. Cty. of Bergen, 198 N.J. 408, 413 (2009)
Freedom of information is the very foundation of all the freedoms that the First Amendment was intended to guarantee. We believe that government transparency is a hallmark of a democratic society and that the public is entitled to know how their government officials conduct business and how their tax dollars are spent. Too often, however, public agencies stand in the way of transparency and seek to shield information from the public.
The Stein Public Interest Center represents journalists, newspapers, activists, nonprofit organizations, and business entities in the quest for public records. Over the years, our attorneys have filed hundreds of public records lawsuits to help requestors gain access to records such as budgets, legal invoices, public meeting minutes, executive session meeting minutes, investigation reports, payroll records, email communications, social media accounts, and many other records that shed light on the operations of government.
Our attorneys have participated in several landmark cases regarding government transparency. These include published opinions by the Appellate Division and Supreme Court of New Jersey establishing the right of out-of-state requestors to file OPRA requests, concluding that the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a public agency subject to OPRA, limiting the scope of the application of OPRA’s privacy provision, limiting a public agency’s right to sue records’ requestors, and clarifying the state’s conflict of interest laws for planning board applications.
Amicus brief in case regarding standards for conflicts of interest in local planning board
Lawsuit and appeal regarding right of non-citizens to file OPRA requests
Amicus brief in OPRA case seeking names and addresses of winning bidders at public auction
Lawsuit seeking access to Newark's bid for Amazon's Second Headquarters (Amazon HQ2)
- North Jersey Media Group Inc. v. State of N.J., Office of the Governor, 451 N.J. Super. 282 (App. Div. 2017)1.2.17
Appeal resulting in decision that trial courts have authority to impose willful violation penalties in OPRA cases
- Matter of New Jersey Firemen's Association Obligation to Provide Relief Application Under Open Public Records Act, 230 N.J. 258 (2017)1.1.17
Appeal regarding whether a public agency may sue an OPRA requestor
News & Insights
- CJ Griffin Featured in Opinion in New Jersey Monitor Praising Griffin’s Efforts in Obtaining Release of Government Records and Fighting for TransparencyNews, 3.21.22
- CJ Griffin Quoted in NorthJersey.com on “Huge Win” for Transparency and Accountability In New JerseyNews, 3.9.22
- CJ Griffin Quoted in Law360 Pulse on Precedential Ruling Confirming Fee-Shifting in OPRA Requests Made by a Party’s AttorneyNews, 1.27.22
- News, 1.25.21
- News, 5.23.19
- News, 5.27.18
- New Jersey Supreme Court: Release bidder names in disputed memorabilia auction | northjersey.com | May 23, 2018News, 5.23.18
- News, 9.1.17
- News, 6.21.17
- Public Interest Blog, 11.1.19