Public Employee Home Addresses to Remain Private Until Supreme Court Determines Jurisdictional Issue in Teacher Home Address Case

One of the most fiercely contested issues arising after the 2008 revision of Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law is whether home addresses of public employees are public records.  Last year, the Pennsylvania State Education Association (“PSEA”) petitioned the Commonwealth Court to enjoin the Officer of Open Records (“OOR”) from ordering school districts to disclose home addresses of public school teachers.  The Commonwealth Court issued a preliminary injunction and the OOR stopped ordering all agencies to disclose public employee home addresses.

The Commonwealth Court recently dismissed the PSEA’s underlying petition because of jurisdictional issues.  This order dissolved the preliminary injunction and the OOR issued a statement that it would once again order government agencies to disclose the home addresses of public employees.

Yesterday, November 1, 2010, the Pennsylvania Supreme court issued an order granting the PSEA’s request for a stay pending the outcome of the underlying appeal.  In effect, the preliminary injunction is reinstated and the OOR will likely stop ordering the disclosure of public employee home addresses until the Supreme Court determines whether the Commonwealth Court has jurisdiction to hear the PSEA’s underlying petition.  Whether the Supreme Court will speak to the claim of privacy in home addresses remains unclear.

Disclaimer:  This blog is maintained by the members of Nauman Smith’s Media and Right-to-Know Law practice group.  The members of this practice group represent both: 1) media entities, individuals and corporations seeking access to public records, and 2) local municipalities seeking to comply with the law.  THIS BLOG IS NOT MEANT TO BE USED AS LEGAL ADVICE.  The purpose of this blog is to provide educational material for individuals interested in Pennsylvania’s open records law, commonly referred to as the “Right-to-Know Law” or “RTKL”.  The opinions expressed by the individual members of the practice group are solely their own, and do not reflect the opinions of Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, LLP, or the practice group as a whole.