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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

ERNEST BOZZI VS. CITY OF ATLANTIC CITY, ET AL.



 ERNEST BOZZI VS. CITY OF ATLANTIC CITY, ET AL.
A-0532-12T4

We reviewed a Law Division order concluding plaintiff Ernest Bozzi suffered a violation of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 to -13, for which he was entitled to damages and attorney's fees. The trial court rejected defendants' arguments that plaintiff could not request relief under OPRA because he failed to file a written request and that the document sought by plaintiff — a bid package for a city project — was exempt from OPRA's reach and governed by the Local Public Contracts Law (LPCL), N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 to -51.

We affirmed the trial judge's conclusion that the requested bid specifications were government records, not otherwise excepted from OPRA's fee limits by the LPCL. However, in light of the clear statutory provisions, plaintiff's request, although seeking a government record, failed to comply with OPRA's writing requirement, which was fatal to recovery under the statute. 01/07/14