New Jersey court allows 3rd-party open records requests

 George Washington Bridge connects Fort Lee, N.J. to New York City. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

George Washington Bridge connects Fort Lee, N.J. to New York City. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A New Jersey appeals court has ruled citizens can seek public records requests filed by others.

One of the plaintiffs had sought all public records requests filed in connection with the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case. Others had sought records from the Motor Vehicle Commission and state Department of Education.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s office and numerous state agencies had sought to reverse a judge’s ruling granting the requests.

They argued New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act wasn’t meant as “a research tool” and that the requests weren’t specific enough. They also cited a previous appeals court ruling in a case involving federal subpoenas in Middlesex County.

On Friday, the appeals court wrote the earlier ruling wasn’t relevant and that the public records act doesn’t exempt third-party requests.

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