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Appellate Division Upholds Trial Court’s Finding That A Volunteer Ambulance Squad is Not Subject To OPRA

July 1, 2015 | Comments Off on Appellate Division Upholds Trial Court’s Finding That A Volunteer Ambulance Squad is Not Subject To OPRA
Posted by Beth Christian

Tabernacle Rescue Squad (“TRS”) , a volunteer ambulance squad located In Tabernacle Township, has scored an important victory in the Appellate Division in an OPRA case that could have far-reaching implications for non-profit volunteer rescue squads throughout the State of New Jersey.  GH & C attorneys Ari Burd and Beth Christian have represented TRS  in an on-going dispute with a resident of Tabernacle Township who filed an OPRA request with TRS .  The Township resident asserted that TRS was an instrumentality of the Township and was therefore subject to OPRA.  We reported in an earlier blog post that after the Township resident  filed an Order to Show Cause seeking to compel release of the records,  the trial court issued a decision finding that TRS, as a nonprofit, all volunteer organization formed and operated by private citizens, should not be subject to OPRA: Thereafter, the Township resident appealed the trial court’s decision to the Appellate Division.

Ari Burd appeared at oral argument in the Appellate Division on behalf of TRS.  In a per curium decision, the Appellate Division upheld the decision of the trial court.  The Appellate Division indicated that “we agree with Judge Bookbinder that the Rescue Squad, having been founded by private individuals and conducting its operations wholly free of government control, albeit with financial support permitted by statute, cannot be considered a public agency under OPRA.”  The Appellate Division also held that because TRS is not a public agency and its volunteer members do not conduct government business, the appellant was not entitled to the TRS records under common law.


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