B. Separation orders

There is no Pennsylvania law that addresses the scope of separation orders issued against reporters who are both trying to cover a trial and are on a witness list for that trial.

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.

G. Reporter's personal observations

There are no Pennsylvania appellate court decisions addressing whether the Shield Law or the First Amendment privilege applies where the information sought is a reporter's personal observations of an event at issue in the case. Two trial court decisions have touched on this issue. In Commonwealth v. Linderman, 1992 WL 563407, *1, 17 Pa. D. & C.4th 102, 104 (C.P. Chester Sept.

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”).

10. Fines.

The Act does not preclude fines: “Nothing in this act shall prohibit a court from imposing penalties and costs in accordance with applicable rules of court.” Section 1304(c).

3. Student records.

Transcripts are exempt from disclosure under the Act.  Section 708(b)(15)(i).

C. Court-derived exclusions, common law prohibitions, recognized privileges against disclosure.

The scope of records covered by the Act does not “supersede or modify the public or nonpublic nature of a record or document established in Federal or State law, regulation or judicial order or decree.” Section 306. Elsewhere the Act makes the same point clear: “If the provisions of this Act regarding access to records conflict with any other federal or state law, the provisions of this Act shall not apply.” Section 3101.1. In other words, if some other Pennsylvania or federal statute, regulation or order requires or prohibits access, the Act does not change that.

A. In general



1. Where to ask for ruling. M4B1

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

2. Deposit of security

There is no requirement under either the Shield Law or the First Amendment privilege that the subpoenaing party deposit any security in order to procure the testimony or materials of the reporter.