As a follow-up to our prior e-mails on this important matter, attached is the August 6, 2009 Memorandum Opinion issued by Judge Friedman of the Commonwealth Court in support of her July 28th Order which granted an injunction to prevent the disclosure of home addresses of school employees. This opinion sheds some light on the rationale of Judge Friedman when she issued her Order.
Judge Friedman initially agrees that Section 708 of the new Right to Know Law (RTKL) does not exempt home addresses from public disclosure. However, she then applies the Commonwealth and Supreme Court decisions which pre-dated the RTKL and held that there still remains a constitutionally protected privacy interest in a person’s home address. The Office of Open Records previously rejected this line of cases when it entered its prior decisions on this issue. Judge Friedman concludes that the employees’ privacy interest in their home addresses outweighs any interest in disclosure, that the employees’ right to relief is clear and there would be immediate and irreparable harm if an injunction was not issued.
Although still only a decision on the entry of a preliminary injunction, this rationale may ultimately prevail when the Court considers the request for a permanent injunction. We will keep you advised of all developments.