The Commonwealth Court recently instructed that all evidence supporting one’s RTKL arguments must be presented to the Office of Open Records, and appellants cannot supplement the record with additional evidence on appeal. In Mission Pennsylvania, LLC v. McKelvey, et al., (Cmwlth. Ct. June 4, 2019), the court addressed requests for copies of applications submitted to the Department of Health under PA’s medical marijuana law.

Key Takeaways

  • All evidence and arguments regarding the disputed RTKL issues must be presented to the OOR and will not be permitted to be supplemented for the first time on appeal
  • To allow additional evidence for the first time on appeal would encourage dilatory tactics and subverts the goal of the RTKL to provide expedient access to public records.
  • The court also explained the 6 factors considered to determine whether data deserves “trade secret status” protection pursuant to the RTKL.
  • The type of confidential and privileged commercial or financial information that may be an exception under the RTKL was also analyzed by the court.
  • On an issue somewhat unique to the PA medical marijuana law, the court explained the details about the physical security systems of a building that may be exempted under the RTKL