2. Disciplinary records.

Disciplinary records are not publicly available unless included in a “final action” resulting in “demotion or discharge.”  Section 708(b)(7)(viii).

1. Contact other party first

Although neither the Shield Law nor the First Amendment privilege require that the subpoenaing party be contacted prior to any motion to quash, it is a good idea. Most subpoenas are withdrawn or severely modified as a result of such calls.

4. Nongovernmental bodies.

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

A. Adjudications by administrative bodies. M3A

The Act expressly allows these to be held in executive session, at least where they would otherwise result in disclosure of information privileged or otherwise protected by law. 65 Pa. Cons. Stat. §  708(a)(5). The Act is ambiguous about whether all adjudications may be held in executive session. Governmental units, including the Commonwealth, take the position that all adjudications may be closed. See, e.g., 4 Pa. Code § 1.50(d) (policy statement of Commonwealth Counsel regarding “privileged, confidential, investigatory and quasijudicial matters”).

E. Appellate proceedings



9. Confidential informants.

Section 708(b)(16)(iii) exempts “[a] record that includes the identity of a confidential source.”

B. Elements

Since the Pennsylvania Shield Law provides an absolute privilege against compelled disclosure of confidential source information, the predominant issues generally are whether the subpoenaed information is confidential source information and whether the Shield Law's protections have been waived by publication of the identity of the confidential source.

Under the First Amendment privilege, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated the elements as follows (without actually ruling that there is such a privilege in Pennsylvania):

3. Provisions for fee waivers.

     An agency may – but is not legally required to – waive fees for duplication where, for example, the “requester duplicates the record” or “the agency deems it is in the public interest to do so.” Section 1307(f).

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.