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Spectraserv, Inc v Middlesex County Utilities Authority

Case No. A-1080-09T2 (NJ Superior Ct. App. Div., Nov. 18, 2010)

Plaintiff Spectraserv, Inc. (Spectraserv) appeals from an order of the Law Division denying its request for attorney's fees of $121,520 as the claimed "prevailing party" in litigation it instituted against defendant Middlesex County Utilities Authority (MCUA) under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act (OPRA), N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

The MCUA is a governmental entity responsible for, among other things, wastewater management in Middlesex County and portions of Union and Somerset counties. It services about 750,000 residents and businesses in central New Jersey.

Sometime ago, the MCUA evaluated potential process modifications to its main wastewater treatment plant in Sayreville to reduce the amount of sludge product and minimize transportation, thereby cutting costs. The modification ultimately chosen was based on a patented process known as"biopHast duopHase," which creates a sludge product substantially reduced in volume and water. R3 Management, Ltd. (R3 Management), an engineering firm based in the United Kingdom, held the patent for this technology in the United States and Europe.

On June 21, 2001, the MCUA entered into a licensing and confidentiality agreement with R3 Management wherein the MCUA was granted "a nontransferable, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license" to implement this technology at its wastewater treatment plant. The agreement also obligated the MCUA "to treat as secret and confidential the R3 Management Technology which is disclosed to [the MCUA] by [R3 Management]," and "not at any time to disclose or permit or allow to be disclosed the R3 Management Technology or any part thereof to any third party, except any necessary disclosure to clients and sub-contractors of [the MCUA] or as required by law or court, governmental or administrative order or directive.
 

 

Judge(s): Anthony J. Parrillo
Jurisdiction: New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
Related Categories: Damages
 
Circuit Court Judge(s)
Anthony Parrillo
Stephen Skillman
Joseph Yannotti

 
Appellant Lawyer(s) Appellant Law Firm(s)
Marc D'Angiolillo Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP
Dara Govan Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP
Jonathan Sandler Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP

 
Appellee Lawyer(s) Appellee Law Firm(s)
Frederick Dennehy Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA
Keith Hovey Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA
Daniel Kluska Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA
William Linton Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA
Brian Molloy Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA
Donald Taylor Wilentz Goldman & Spitzer PA

 

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the instant matter is strikingly similar. thirteen of spectraserv, inc., the authority will produce for inspection parties' engineering contract (the construction litigation). iv. compliance, to satisfy both the opra request and the anticipated shorter time is otherwise prescribed, "a custodian of a the court advising that the licensor generally did not "object after service). (1992)). in mason, supra, the court held that "requestors are a-1080-09t27 identified by the mcua as privileged, 205 were eventually upheld produced these master logs on august 7, 2007, consisting of two 381 n.j. super. at 36-37. "as such, a proper request under opra employees on march 1, 2007 to begin identifying thirty file and truncated time frame. spectraserv itself acknowledged the although opra clearly contemplates the production of such 184, and "encourages compromise and efforts to work through but is only required to produce reasonably identified response was reasonable. to be sure, "[a] requestor is not fees and costs as a "prevailing party" under n.j.s.a. 47:1a-6 31st was greatly reduced. did not conform to opra's seven-day business rule because it have been generated over a period of 50 years or more." since super. at 183 (citing n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(g)). opra most certainly 2007 that it would make the remainder available for production the mcua" or thirteen other named individuals and entities since "development of design concept," and "any and all documents detailing design, engineering, construction and/or management documents identified in the mcua's february 7, 2008 letter. was also referred to the special master, who, on february 27, file." bent v. stafford twp. police dep't, 381 n.j. super. 30, sayreville to reduce the amount of sludge product and minimize also agreed to extend the last milestone completion date to 6, 2007 reply was responsive to spectraserv's demand and (opra), n.j.s.a. 47:1a-1 to -13. for the reasons that follow, requests after an attempt to reach a reasonable and mutually turn, the requestor must "submit the request with information damage claims through the end of february 2005. the parties available to spectraserv under opra that would not have complaint, the mcua proposed the very solution ultimately business days) with rule 4:18-1(b)(2) (requiring parties to the june 1st return date was rescheduled to june 6th and and daniel j. kluska, on the brief). 2009, found that spectraserv was entitled to the full amount of records protected under the licensing agreement. the licensor involvement of an outside party (biophast) in its resolution, as ultimately chosen was based on a patented process known as less than one month after this inquiry, on february 22, full compliance with the requestor's expansive document demands on june 21, 2001, the mcua entered into a licensing and government custodians. see mag, supra, 375 n.j. super. at 549- open-ended demands "for every document a public agency has on inc., 328 n.j. super. 410, 420 (app. div. 2000)), certif. 432 (app. div. 2006) (quoting warrington v. vill. supermarket, words, since the request was subject to outright denial in the portions of union and somerset counties. it services about failure in many instances to clearly specify the documents well as the pendency of simultaneous litigation in the same completion delays and failure to meet contract specifications. mcua recommended a coordinated production of documents to spectraserv rejected the mcua's proposal by letter of march upon, considered or used in the agency's fair-share housing change (voluntary or otherwise) in the custodian's conduct. "biophast duophase," which creates a sludge product the mcua was directed to produce confidentiality and privilege to the contract between spectraserv and the mcua, as well as disclose documents voluntarily after the the mcua. from the very inception, in its initial response of been produced otherwise. aside from the lack of any legal basis for the relief kiln dust in the admixture silo its production of any documents related to the r3 management mixing process . . . . satisfy both the opra request and anticipated discovery demands. 47:1a-5(f), (g), (i)), certif. denied, 190 n.j. 394 (2007). in to the request as invalid. we disagree. access "would substantially disrupt agency operations," in which the request in that case did not specifically identify the "encompasses hundreds of thousands of documents and records that immediate access to all non-exempt documents. thereafter, on (continued) demands assessment and preliminary inquiry of the sort required included a government records request form and a four-page initial request on october 7, 2005 sought to inspect any and all cabinets of documents and assessing the administrative burden of [id. at 544-45 (internal citations plans" as to the spectraserv contract or "prepared in connection a-1080-09t217 flatly rejected the opra request, the agency relinquished its sometime ago, the mcua evaluated potential process 375 n.j. super. at 549-50. in mag, we expressly disapproved of to perform research assignments in response to an opra request pursuant to spectraserv's opra request all june 26, 2007 and july 2, 2007. due to the volume of documents, spectraserv's december 24, 2008 application for attorney's . . . . accessible for inspection, copying, or examination . . . ." january 1998. in addition, spectraserv sought the complete were deemed otherwise. mcua received via counsel on february 26, 2007. apparently spectraserv's motion were available for inspection with the "over nine years worth of files." having met with agency 'prevailing party.'" n. jersey media group inc. v. state, dep't within which government custodians must respond. bent, supra, city of hoboken, 196 n.j. 51, 57 (2008). thus, unless otherwise a-1080-09t223 "any and all" documents from the mcua. of those, several swift access to government records would end spectraserv's opra complaint and the production of documents by [courier news v. hunterdon county in other litigation with the governmental agency required to fees as a prevailing party under opra." id. at 171. presents no proof to the contrary. logs of all exempted documents within thirty days, by july 6, pulverized calcium oxide modifications to its main wastewater treatment plant in relating to r3m engineering and its president, michael j. upon a deposit for the copying costs. on may 7, 2007, confidential, proprietary or trade secrets under its licensing fee pursuant to n.j.s.a. 47:1a-11 and n.j.s.a. 47:1a-6, authorized by law. agreement with r3 management, or otherwise privileged, the mcua that accommodates the interests of the requestor and the access government records. n.j.s.a. 47:1a- construction and improvements of the agency's wastewater of the government record sought." n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(f). in "detail," or "demonstrate" the "rationale," "decision," or compliance will 'disrupt agency operations.'"). here, it is contract.2 request sought, once again, the "entire project file" pertaining the government custodian, on the other hand, must "locate rejection constitutes a waiver of its right to thereafter object ii. march 2007 to spectraserv's letter request, the mcua general information," mag entm't, llc v. div. of alcoholic methodology, to be outside opra's scope. id. at 179. because conveyor and dewatering equipment through the patented biophast special master to review the challenged documents. same week, alleging, in part, the inadequacy of the overall construction complaint with which it had been served that very 37 (app. div. 2005). rather, "opra requires a party requesting fees of $121,520 as the claimed "prevailing party" in litigation a-1080-09t221 the opinion of the court was delivered by although the pendency of collateral litigation "neither to the mcua, spectraserv, as noted, filed its construction notice of motion to intervene in the pending litigation by opra's related fee shifting provision had no application, id. at the trial court's decision. we also find that the mcua's march spectraserv's claim of entitlement to attorney's fees is demands. this monumental task necessarily entailed a sought," gannett n.j. partners l.p. v. county of middlesex, 379 dara aquila govan argued the cause for appellant the mcua's solution was all the more reasonable given the . . . identify requests that require 'extraordinary expenditure latter, as soon as its licensor withdrew its objection by generalized and therefore improper under opra. first, the sheer it encompassed records that were exempt from disclosure under show cause, seeking, in addition to the requested documents, a confidential under its licensing agreement with r3 management, sought necessitated the deployment of indisputably limited outright disqualified from entitlement to fees because the 545. in mag, we noted: iii. hydrated cao or caoh; samuel, for the period from january 2003 to present. on october requesting all of an agency's documents." ibid. (emphasis in this regard, opra does not countenance "[w]holesale requests for feasibility of the admixture feed and documents, once classified as "confidential," available for exempt documents. the rule, however, applies only if a proper deadlines do not apply"). there, we found the requestor's five- by the court as exempt from disclosure and only 171, at most, circumstances, it cannot be said that spectraserv's opra any source." see n.j.s.a. 47:1a-1.1. as a result of biophast's allowable time, however, is the equivalent of a denial of the the remainder for relevance and responsiveness to spectraserv's mandate. custodians of public records must develop forms for "[a]ny and all contracts performed with or for the benefit of public access because the requesting party charge,' and, when unable to comply with a request, 'indicate to spectraserv's review of these documents subject to the entry the law division or file a complaint with the government records attempting to reach a reasonable solution with the requestor in the admixture silo and feed "prevailing party" fees is not within the statute's intendment designated as privileged or confidential, with the remaining 205 discovery demands in litigation. although no date was set for ctr. v. n.j. dep't of educ., 198 n.j. 274, 283 (2009); mason v. that were to be met by may 31, 2005, but when spectraserv not in storage or archived." n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(i). an exception i. n.j. at 78. under spectraserv's argument, opra, as ultimately found by both the special master and the deemed protected by the attorney-client privilege or that were with,' 'referring or relating to,' and 'or other services,'" the detailing the chemical equations used a-1080-09t210 97,000 documents covered by the opra request, those it deemed approved for publication document production, the mcua represented that it would endeavor in itself, to warrant denial of spectraserv's counsel fee lawsuit against the mcua. four days later, and within six system of equipment and controls that, upon completion, would effective and orderly mechanism for scheduling and tracking the december 14, 2005, which, according to the mcua, spectraserv on march 17, 2003, spectraserv, a new jersey-based general that involve brief delay." n.j. builders ass'n, supra, 390 n.j. did not intervene by november 5, 2007, thus resolving all division, middlesex county, docket no. l-3194-07. time consuming, involving an "extraordinary expenditure of time that "under relevant case law a public agency is not obligated obligations." n.j. builders ass'n v. n.j. council on affordable records on an accelerated basis, spectraserv's demand does not efforts at accommodation. and in the former statutory civil penalty of $1,000 and a reasonable attorney's thereafter, on september 12, 2007, biophast's counsel wrote parrillo, j.a.d. connection with contract 02-10-3 that dunn v. dep't of human servs., 312 n.j. super. 321, 332 (app. opra request has been made. see n.j. builders ass'n, supra, 390 the mcua. [id. at 78-79.] documents, contracts, resolutions, and copies of payments 103, 111-12, 113 s. ct. 566, 573, 121 l. ed. 2d 494, 503 suggesting a single production of records in response to both 18, 2005, the mcua made the requested documents available for and feed systems; outside the statutory ambit," id. at 550, we noted: "although would intend to permit denial but prohibit reasonable solutions volumes totaling 590 pages and listing 596 documents as as to the latter, paragraphs 6 and 7 requested: jersey's common law protections by providing its citizenry a-1080-09t24 is opposing the public entity in possession beverage control, 375 n.j. super. 534, 549 (app. div. 2005), or position, the number of documents available for review on may forum, the alternative of a coordinated approach offered an business days of receiving this request, the mcua responded by states and europe. it instituted against defendant middlesex county utilities filing of a lawsuit. if they did, they n.j. super. at 182, it is not a fact to be ignored. mag, supra, requests failed to specify a specific document by date, title, completion deadline, spectraserv made several opra requests of unreasonable." yet despite these reservations, the mcua records those it deemed privileged and confidential. as to the business rule and "authorizes custodians to propose a broad "cooperative balance" opra strives to attain. mason, supra, 196 fifteen of the 167 privileged documents referred to in public records, that is, responsive the statute establishes specific means to effectuate this thirteen days later, on march 28, 2007, spectraserv filed the without these provisions, the ordinary 750,000 residents and businesses in central new jersey. bid on the mcua project. as the lowest bidder, spectraserv was simply note that there appears to be no identifiable documents aff'd, 201 n.j. 5 (2010). spectraserv, however, never conformed as "a broad-based demand for research and analysis, decidedly was granted "a nontransferable, nonexclusive, and irrevocable agency resources to sift through the mcua's vast files and b. the decision not to use pulverized generally immaterial to the disclosure determination under opra, beginning in october 2005, two months shy of the contract's meanwhile, the mcua began identifying, from the estimated "common sense precludes an assumption that the legislature and produce the rest. as to the latter, in light of the neither provided prompt access to the government records sought the opra request and discovery demands in the construction inspection. an alkaline based-additive. at the end of the process, the "privileged," given the commonality of subject matter, the court would be presumed liable for fees. as a based upon its contention that the mcua's march 6, 2007 response instances, opra cases designed to obtain be readily and reasonably identified within the short time frame and effort." n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(c). moreover, spectraserv's advance of what the discovery rules command. compare n.j.s.a. aggressive litigation tactics and fewer the mcua requested and was granted an extension of time for a. the rationale behind using a highly technical and complex nature. as if this were not 1 systems and any comparison of to a prevailing requestor, the legislature although the impropriety of the opra request is sufficient, assignee of r3 management and its technologies, which included covered by the opra request would have been discoverable in the "contain[ed] broad and expansive language such as 'in connection accordingly, the mcua inquired of spectraserv whether "a more form, some with multiple subparts. among other things, this expressed its intention to withhold some of the requested of which the parties agreed that: council (grc). n.j.s.a. 47:1a-6. a requestor who "prevails" is a-1080-09t226 technology covered by the confidentiality agreement as such teeters v. div. of youth & family servs., 387 n.j. super. 423, log was produced, spectraserv objected to more than half of the respond to the opra request." mag, supra, 375 n.j. super. at inspection and spectraserv inspected these documents on november only eight days after it submitted its third opra request government record shall grant access to a government record or here the manner in which [the requestor] attempted to use opra which is disclosed to [the mcua] by [r3 management]," and "not here, the mcua complains that spectraserv improperly used to produce some or all of the records requested under opra in a-1080-09t212 records request does not, in itself, relieve 15, 2007 and demanded that the agency "make available for timely manner, articulated a specific basis for its objection, mcua's counter-proposal. aside from this concession, disruption production of documents and addressing any challenges thereto. disclosed, only 171 documents were compelled by court order. overbroad and unreasonable" in requiring the examination of comply with opra. documents that are county of monmouth, 406 n.j. super. 1, 12 (app. div. 2009), a second opra request on january 11, 2007, more than one attachments" to 172 of the documents listed on the privilege in the law division, asserting various claims arising under the further inspection of documents by spectraserv occurred on of material sought in collateral litigation. prevailing party simply because the agency produced documents a-1080-09t28 as a vehicle to transfer management of the discovery process in handling of other enforcement actions against similarly situated a-1080-09t23 adopted, in large measure, by the trial court to address sought, absent here is any causal connection between imposed by spectraserv's opra request. given the built-in delay omitted).] improperly withheld. the agency fully complied. thus, the mcua year after the december 31, 2005 contract completion date had plaintiff-appellant, attachment, consisting of sixteen separate requests in paragraph the mcua, the last of which is the subject of this appeal. its of agency employees to determine which documents they relied n.j. super. 205, 212 (app. div. 2005), so that the records may j. linton, of counsel and on the brief; keith l. hovey response," the mcua characterized the request as "vague, characterizing the request as "vague, overbroad and after an opra suit was filed. mason, supra, 196 n.j. at 78. super. at 183. indeed, such an assumption goes against the its demand to opra's requirements and therefore cannot be the managing director of biophast wrote the mcua, objecting to plaintiffs would have an incentive to file with" certain scientific processes named in the spectraserv must identify with reasonable clarity those documents that are inspection within ten (10) days, all documents . . . that . . . "purpose" of, among other things, various chemical processes of access to a public record to specifically describe the document deny a request for access to a government record as soon as the use of opra "as an alternative to civil discovery, to obtain awarded and signed an engineering contract with the mcua on may action. id. at 550. mag involved an opra request by a retail superior court of new jersey we affirm. liquor licensee for disclosure by the division of alcoholic the specific basis.'" n.j. builders ass'n, supra, 390 n.j. rehabilitation of sewerage and wastewater treatment facilities, attorneys; marc d'angiolillo, of counsel; ms. govan 546 (app. div. 2005).] beverage control, during pendency of the division's enforcement _________________________________ a-1080-09t224 6. any and all documents prepared in disputes between the parties arose thereafter. the november 18, 2010 2007, spectraserv submitted its final opra request, which the of [the mcua] or as required by law or court, governmental or respond to document demands within thirty-five to fifty days 1. the fee-shifting provisions in opra are fees because its opra request was improper and the mcua's original). the purpose or motive for which information is sought is responsible for the payment of counsel fees nor otherwise fixed a date certain for the production of non- mason, supra, 196 n.j. at 76, 78. enormity and complexity of the request, involving approximately 2 compromise to the unrealistically abbreviated temporal demands ultimately produced 2239 of the 2444 documents originally a-1080-09t213 "governmental records" and subject to public authority (mcua) under new jersey's open public records act documents that are neither privileged nor information within government records, the plaintiff was not possible, but not later than seven business days after receiving of october 24, 2008, affirmed the special master's findings and agency." n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(g). failure to respond within the court itself allowed the mcua to withhold these documents while middlesex county utilities proprietary commercial or financial information obtained from as noted, opra recognizes an exception to the seven-day 150,000 documents, rendered agency compliance cumbersome and disclosure issues common to both lawsuits. the mcua also then that request is not 'encompassed' by opra and opra's molloy, frederick dennehy, donald e. taylor, william and should not be countenanced. while we venture no opinion as their review, counsel for the mcua, in his response, also noted would have had to make the same determination in the context of (quoting singer v. state, 95 n.j. 487, 494 (1984)). 179, and therefore held that the requestor "was not entitled to converted into a case management conference, at the conclusion intended to supplement its earlier request, this latest version identify, analyze and select potentially relevant and responsive november 5, 2007. failure to do so would result in a waiver of also failed to meet. eventually, the mcua terminated its evaluate and identify those exempt from disclosure, and assess treatment plant in sayreville, which was designed in the 1950s. a-1080-09t227 confidentiality. as for the other 347 records designated make available for inspection "certain correspondence and transfer and process sewage sludge from the mcua's existing cabinet drawers of records and ten boxes of shop drawings. duophase process, drying the sludge with heat and mixing it with in adopting opra, the legislature declared transportation, thereby cutting costs. the modification contract between the mcua and spectraserv contained milestones because (1) its opra request was improper as overly broad and a-1080-09t218 confidentiality issues. consequently, the mcua made the 1848 47:1a-5(i) (requiring a response to an opra request within seven treated sludge would be appropriate for use and disposal under defendants-respondents. reject spectraserv's waiver argument as unsound and without law division rejected the special master's finding and held that privilege designations. on february 7, 2008, the mcua agreed to treat as secret and confidential the r3 management technology on march 2, 2007, spectraserv filed a lawsuit against the mcua permits "consideration of demands on agency operations," id. at reflect or explain the following: proof that agency operations would be substantially disrupted by application, we do not rely on this reason alone in upholding disclosure is denied or not responded to in the mcua is a governmental entity responsible for, among a-1080-09t220 letter dated march 6, 2007. in what it termed its "preliminary withheld documents should have been produced in whole or in construction litigation and recouping its discovery costs on december 14, 2007, over four months after the privilege in the conceptual design phase of the submitting its confidentiality and privilege logs. the agency spectraserv objected to the mcua scanning, copying or bates a-1080-09t26 range of 'reasonable solutions' that accommodate competing 50. relatedly, spectraserv's request was also overbroad because the licensing and confidentiality agreement entered into with access public records is not abridged because it may be involved a-1080-09t211 we fully recognize, of course, that "[a] party's right to enforceable consent decree, when they can demonstrate (1)'a diminishes nor expands the requestor's right of access to construction lawsuit just then commenced by spectraserv, the records fell within opra's exception for "trade secrets and 7. any and all documents prepared in to the true purpose of the opra request in this instance, we numbering of any documents, asserting that inspection could to provide its citizens with the right to a person denied access may either institute an action in plaintiff spectraserv, inc. (spectraserv) appeals from an right to later challenge the demand as improper. in other records and to produce those it deemed exempt. in light of the construction litigation instituted by spectraserv. to the seven-day business rule exists where the request for first instance, any agency response short of straightforward a-1080-09t29 tailored and complete request" could be submitted and advised the request, provided that the record is currently available and passed, sought the mcua's "entire project file" on the agencies, in turn, would have reason not to action against the licensee, of records regarding the division's license" to implement this technology at its wastewater contractor with experience in the construction and business days . . . . likelihood that most, if not all, of the non-exempt documents envisioned by opra." n.j. builders ass'n, supra, 390 n.j. factual causal nexus between plaintiff's litigation and the the abc and mag when mag made its public documents exempt from disclosure. of the 2239 documents operations" and "clearly permits outright denial of these v. n.j.s.a. 47:1a-1. occasioned by both the nature of the request itself and the sufficiently inclusive, spectraserv's last request sought the before judges skillman, parrillo and yannotti. was patently improper." id. at 543. n.j. super. at 179 (noting that "when a request is 'complex' "in determining the propriety of an award of attorney fees, instant opra action by way of verified complaint and order to the court must first determine whether one qualifies as a not for publication without the we also conclude that the mcua offered a reasonable affirmed. litigation, was reasonable. we agree. originally withheld, as privileged or confidential, a total of and all documents and data," id. at 172, and requiring a survey a-1080-09t25 expectation of an award of attorney's fees. exempted, opra requires that government records "be readily once considered confidential. in fact, in the interim, the complaint caused the production of documents that would not have statutory rights to government maintained records. educ. law appellate division failing to intervene, the mcua made available all 1848 documents confidentiality agreement with r3 management wherein the mcua indeed, opra contemplates prompt production of documents well in a-1080-09t22 spectraserv inspected these documents on may 31, 2007. desired, and a party cannot satisfy this requirement by simply super. at 181 ("a request that does not comply with opra and intended to even the fight. biophast technologies ltd. (biophast) subsequently became the the government agency of its obligation to spectraserv nevertheless argues that because the mcua never appellate division that is essential to permit the custodian to comply with its rather, a complainant is a "prevailing party" if he or she may 18, 2007, the mcua invited spectraserv to inspect documents therein. certainly, misuse of opra as a calculated, tactical spectraserv's sixteen requests with multiple subparts sought these are consequences not contemplated by opra and therefore we litigation discovery under rule 4:10-2. thus, under the information previously denied" in an administrative enforcement and jonathan m. sandler, on the brief). easily be done on-site without sacrificing control, and demanded substantially reduced in volume and water. r3 management, ltd. so qualify because, for reasons already stated, it was not (r3 management), an engineering firm based in the united merit. considered a "prevailing party." treatment plant. the agreement also obligated the mcua "to mcua could not project when it could produce the records. log. spectraserv then moved to compel the production of 167 opra was intended to complement, enhance and maximize new just one week prior to that inspection, on may 24, 2007, event "the custodian may deny access to the record after id. at 171. for that very same reason, we also found that at any time to disclose or permit or allow to be disclosed the that it is the public policy of this state the special master issued a privilege report on july 28, entitled to attorney's fees under opra, absent a judgment or an r3 management technology or any part thereof to any third party, kingdom, held the patent for this technology in the united approval of the appellate division response prompted the judge to order the licensor to file a of time and effort' and warrant assessment of a 'service div. 1998)) (finding that, despite entitlement to some are not subject to any claim of privilege or protection." [agency] employees that is neither assigned by the agency nor opra as a means of achieving an unfair advantage in the a vital means of fulfilling this promise. 2008, concluding that of the 347 documents reviewed, 171 of the government records under opra," n.j. builders ass'n, supra, 390 of personnel, 389 n.j. super. 527, 540 (law div. 2006) (quoting may simply be inferred from the breadth, generality and connection with contract 02-10-3, respectively. the court set a return date of june 1, 2007. contract with spectraserv for default, claiming unexcused the administrative proceeding from the alj to the law division relief ultimately achieved'; and (2) 'that the relief ultimately opposed.3 spectraserv was not entitled to an award of attorney's fees a-1080-09t219 administrative burden in its march 15, 2007 rejection of the achieves the desired result because the complaint brought about documents." viewing many of the requested documents as discovery weapon in pending litigation to obtain the reward of engineering design of the project's improvements, the engineer's represented that it would withhold only those documents it a-1080-09t214 up as battles over attorney's fees. project that demonstrate the request. n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(i). biophast's right to object to the mcua's production of any reasonable under the circumstances. therein, the mcua, in a it gave biophast forty-five days to intervene and assert isolate and evaluate. indeed, of the 596 documents originally the request was not "limited in either time or scope" and immediately took steps to cull and isolate from its voluminous confidential or privileged and advised spectraserv on may 2, order of the law division denying its request for attorney's a-1080-09t216 inexhaustible resources. by making the against a public entity vested with almost custodian of the government record the records within seven business days, n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(i)." advance of any discovery deadline set in the construction access under opra are no less subject to because it fails to specifically identify the documents sought, 15, 2007. documents sought, "opra did not require [the agency] to produce prosecutor's office, 378 n.j. super. 539, agency's "entire project file." 3 the fact that litigation was pending between and redact [the requested] documents, isolate exempt documents, non-specific; and (2) the mcua's march 6, 2007 response, secured by plaintiffs had a basis in law.'" 196 n.j. at 76 undisputed that the mcua had only very limited resources to sift ordered the mcua to produce the remaining documents as otherwise been discoverable in the construction lawsuit. and suit immediately after a request for hous., 390 n.j. super. 166, 177 (app. div.) (citing n.j.s.a. opra requests that "provide space for . . . a brief description we view spectraserv's request as overly broad and super. at 177 (quoting n.j.s.a. 47:1a-5(a)-(j)). unless a 2444 documents out of approximately 150,000. over which biophast has claimed order on march 24, 2005 that settled delays and liquidated brian j. molloy argued the cause for respondents trial court, and which required further agency efforts to cull, privileged and 1848 documents as confidential. thus, the mcua docket no. a-1080-09t2 a timely fashion, based in part on the design, the mcua proposed a compromise - a coordinated contrary to spectraserv's intimation, there is adequate argued october 19, 2010 decided november 18, 2010 liquor licensees. id. at 539-40. in denying the opra request that it would await spectraserv's answer before deciding whether on appeal from the superior court of new jersey, law interests when compliance would substantially disrupt agency counsel for the mcua timely responded that the request substantial disruption of agency operations and spectraserv applicable government regulations. considered a prevailing party). a requestor, however, is not a part. the mcua filed objections with the judge, who, by order complexity of the request at issue, which "necessitates work by (wilentz, goldman & spitzer, p.a., attorneys; mr. $121,520 it claimed as reimbursement. on october 7, 2009, the a-1080-09t222 result, courts could expect to see more of an appropriate protective order by this court." this (continued) a-1080-09t225 16, 2003. this contract required the design of an integrated production of documents, with bates numbering for tracking other documents designated as privileged, which the mcua 2007. public records. yet opra imposes no such obligation upon certain problematic requests" by "accommodating one another." (riker danzig scherer hyland & perretti, llp, through 150,000 documents, including highly technical materials, administrative order or directive."1 fly ash, ground limestone or lime to reiterate, spectraserv is not entitled to attorney's as a result, on may 9, 2008, the court appointed a "entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee." ibid. in advance of any court intervention or directive. as for the allegedly fell behind schedule, the parties agreed to a change authority and richard fitament, pulverized calcium oxide to page document listing thirty-eight separate requests for "any to proceed with the original request. the agency deemed responsive after its review of four filing confidentiality, within seven to ten denied, 189 n.j. 426 (2007); see also farrar v. hobby, 506 u.s. in fact, made many of these documents available for inspection original request was too broad . . . ." asbury park press v. except any necessary disclosure to clients and sub-contractors other things, wastewater management in middlesex county and citizen would be waging a quixotic battle remainder, three weeks before spectraserv filed its opra lawsuit. acknowledged its obligation to produce non-exempt documents and, a-1080-09t215 by njba's demand is sufficient to give rise to an inference that and author and instead sought records that "reflect," "explain," accommodating solution." n.j. builders ass'n, supra, 390 n.j.


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