Nauman Smith attorney Joshua D. Bonn argued a public records case with broad implications for Penn State and other state-related universities at the Commonwealth Court’s en banc argument session on June 19, 2013. The Pennsylvania Cable Network will broadcast the argument session today at 7 p.m, and online by the end of the weekend.
Bonn represents Ryan Bagwell, who is seeking records related to Louis Freeh’s investigation of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University. Bagwell asked the Department of Education to disclose emails received by Ronald Tomalis, the former Secretary of Education, while Tomalis served as an ex officio member of the Penn State Board of Trustees. The Department of Education denied Bagwell’s request and the Office of Open Records dismissed Bagwell’s subsequent appeal. The OOR held emails received by Tomalis did not belong to the Department of Education because Tomalis received them in a personal capacity. Bonn asks the Commonwealth Court to overturn the OOR’s decision because state law required Tomalis to sit on Penn State’s Board of Trustees by virtue of his official position and a department regulation requires the Secretary of Education to always act on behalf of the Department of Education when performing statutorily imposed duties.