Tombs v. Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Docket No. GRC06786-04S (2005)

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Tombs v. Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority

New Jersey Office of Administrative Law
Docket No. GRC06786-04S (2005)

LJ

Facts

Robert Tombs (plaintiff) filed a request under New Jersey’s open-records law, seeking a digital copy of geographic-information-system (GIS) topographic mapping data from the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority (Brick Township) (defendant). Brick Township denied Tombs’s request, claiming that because the GIS topographical mapping data had been voluntarily submitted by Brick Township to the federal Department of Homeland Security (the department), Tombs’s request should be stayed pending the department’s review of the data and authorization of its release. Tombs maintained that New Jersey’s open-records law had to be construed in favor of public access and that Brick Township had the burden of establishing an exemption and could not stay the matter. Tombs appealed Brick Township’s determination to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The OAL issued an interlocutory order granting the stay pending the department’s response. Shortly thereafter, the department sent a letter to Brick Township asserting that the GIS data was protected critical infrastructure information that must be safeguarded pursuant to the Critical Infrastructure Information Act, 6 U.S.C. §§ 131-134.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Masin, J.)

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