Pennsylvania

4. Subpoena not overbroad or unduly burdensome

In civil suits, a reporter may object to a subpoena on the grounds that the subpoena is overly broad or unreasonably burdensome. See Pa. R. Civ. P. 4003.1(a), 4011(b). A reporter who is served with a subpoena can obtain a protective order for "good cause shown" -- that is, if the subpoena is overly broad or unreasonably burdensome. See Pa. R. Civ. P. 4012(a). The protective order may limit the scope of the subpoena or prohibit the discovery completely.

E. Sexual assault issues

Overview

Pennsylvania

5. Private matter on private e-mail

Private matter emails stored on a public employee’s private account do not constitute public records subject to disclosure under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law.  See, e.g., In the Matter of Kenneth M. Silberstein, 2011 WL 31550 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2011)(a public official’s electronic communications do not fall within the definition of a “record” under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law when the official has no authority to act on behalf of a governmental agency without its authorization).

1. Who may sue? M4C01

Suit may be brought by “any person.” 65 Pa. Cons. Stat. §  715. This language was probably intended to allow suit on a showing of “taxpayer” or “citizen” interest; however, the language is broad enough to allow suits by persons who are neither citizens nor taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Traditional standing principles do not apply to the Sunshine Act; thus, proof of an injury or special interest is not required. Press-Enterprise, Inc. v. Benton Area Sch. Dist., 604 A.2d 1221 (Pa. Commw. Ct.

(2). To whom notice is given. M1E2B2

For special meetings, same as for regular meetings.

C. Testimony vs. affidavits

There is no statutory or case law in Pennsylvania specifically addressing this issue. In Pennsylvania, however, an affidavit is generally inadmissible at trial, thereby necessitating the reporter's testimony. Often, reporters may be willing to supply an affidavit during discovery, which may be strategically advantageous for two reasons. First, the case ultimately may not go to trial. Second, the parties may stipulate to the facts stated in the affidavit. Under both of these scenarios, the reporter could avoid having to testify at trial.

K. On-line dissemination.

Many agencies make some of their records publicly available on-line in their own discretion and by statute.  However, the Act does not require on-line dissemination of public records.

2. Time limits for filing appeals. M4D2

The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the entry of the order appealed from. Pa. R.A.P. 903(a).