1. Relevance of material to case at bar

The Pennsylvania Shield Law provides an absolute privilege against compelled disclosure of confidential source information regardless of a party's "need for the information." Davis v. Glanton, 705 A.2d 879, 883 (Pa. Super. 1997). At a minimum, of course, the moving party may only seek materials that are reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. See Pa. R. Civ. P. 4003.1(a).

E. Appealing initial court decisions.

(This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

M. Patients; discussions on individual patients. M3M

Probably closed. See 50 Pa. Stat. §  8005 (patients' personal information is kept confidential). In addition, a hospital board may not be considered an "agency" under the Act.

E. Grand jury records



B. Can the requester obtain a customized search of computer databases to fit particular needs?

No. In responding to a request under the Act, an agency is not required to create a document that does not exist. See Section 705 (“[A]n agency shall not be required to create a record which does not currently exist or to compile, maintain, format or organize a record in a manner in which the agency does not currently compile, maintain, format or organize the record”).

Nonetheless, some agencies have allowed such requests.

a. Must a minimum number be present to constitute a "meeting"? M1D1A

The consultation of as few as two individuals may create a “meeting” if two individuals create a quorum. See Thomas v. Township of Cherry, 722 A.2d 1150, 1153 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1999) (stating “that a ‘meeting’ took place as contemplated by the Sunshine Act when the two [Board] members got together albeit without notice to the third”).

c. Partial disclosure of information

Waiver of the Shield Law protections is limited only to the information "actually published or publicly disclosed . . . ." In re Taylor, 193 A.2d 181 (Pa. 1963). Partial disclosure therefore waives the privilege only as to the information actually disclosed.

There is no Pennsylvania case law directly addressing the waiver of the First Amendment reporter's privilege by partial disclosure of information.