Craig J. Staudenmaier

Nauman Smith
200 North 3rd Street
18th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101
717-236-3010 ext. 122
717-234-1925 (fax)


Craig Staudenmaier has built a reputation as an authority on Right-to-Know and Media Law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is at the forefront of issues and landmark cases stemming from the Commonwealth’s open records and meetings laws. Craig also concentrates his practice in the areas of state and federal litigation. Much of Craig’s litigation practice is devoted to representing the railroad industry, as well as assisting both large and small businesses facing litigation issues. He routinely represents clients in all phases of the litigation process including mediation, arbitration, and appeals.

Rail & Transportation Law

Craig concentrates his practice in the representation of Class I, regional and shortline railroads in all types of litigation, including employee claims under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), crossing accidents, trespassers, and property damage. He has represented railroad clients in the trial courts and has successfully argued cases before the Commonwealth, Superior, and Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania, as well as, all federal District Courts of Pennsylvania and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Right-to-Know/Media Law

Craig routinely represents the print and broadcast media, businesses, and private individuals in public records and open meetings access matters and issues involving the subpoena of reporters, privacy, and defamation claims.  He served for four years as Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Bar/Press Committee.  Craig also serves as General Counsel to the Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition.

Other Practice Areas



  • Washington & Jefferson College, B.A. summa cum laude 1978
  • Dickinson School of Law J.D. 1981

Bar Admissions

  • Pennsylvania, 1981

Court Admissions

  • United States District Courts for the Middle, Eastern, and Western Districts of PA
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Professional Affiliations

  • Dauphin County and Pennsylvania Bar Associations
  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association
  • Hon. William W. Lipsitt American Inn of Court, Founding Master and President (2013-2015) (litigation focus)
  • Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation, Board Member and Chairman (2020-2022)
  • Member and Past Co-Chair of the Bar/Press Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association

Recent Publications


Craig was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2013, 2015-2023 in the field of Commercial Litigation and in 2014 in Transportation. He has also been selected as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer® from 2010 to 2022. Craig has also received the Benjamin Franklin Award of Excellence from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.  Craig represented a coalition of several media organizations in obtaining an order unsealing hundreds of pages of sealed records filed with pleadings in an action by PMA against Penn State University in a dispute between the two arising out of the Sandusky scandal.

In October, 2021, Craig was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Coalition Open Government Hall of Fame as a ‘Hero of the 50 States’ for his unwavering commitment to advancing the public’s access to records under the state’s right-to-know laws which Craig is known for helping to establish.

Rail & Transportation Law

Craig successfully represented a Class I railroad in a unanimous decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reaffirming the occupied crossing rule as a complete bar to recovery and finding for the first time Pennsylvania’s blocked crossing statute pre-empted under Federal Rail Safety Act. Krentz v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 910 A.2d 20 (Pa. Supreme Ct.). He also successfully represented a Class I railroad in obtaining judgment as a matter of law at trial in a FELA case affirmed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Castro v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 46 F. 3d 1115 (3rd Cir.), and successfully represented a Class I railroad in summary judgment of a trespasser rendered a paraplegic. Barry v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 1999 WL 554598 (E.D. Pa.).

Right-to-Know/Media Law

Craig also litigates Right-to-Know and media law issues. He successfully represented a coalition of 11 print and broadcast media organizations before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court resulting in an order compelling the Public Utility Commission to release an anonymous tip letter and investigation records surrounding favorable restoration of power to the neighborhood of a high-ranking PPL executive after a power outage that resulted in loss of power to over 388,000 PPL customers and a $60,000 fine to PPL. The decision affirmed the public’s right to access PUC records under its own governing statutes independently of the Right-to-Know Law. Pennsylvania Public Utility Com’n. v. Seder/The Times Leader et al., 139 A.2d 165 (Pa. 2016).

He successfully represented the Patriot-News before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court where the salary information of Penn State employees belonging to the state retirement system was found to be a public record, including that of head football coach, Joe Paterno, Penn State University v. State Employees’ Retirement Board, 935 A.2d 530, and successfully represented the Patriot-News, Associated Press, and WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, in a decision holding PHEAA Board retreat expenditures were public record and first appellate decision in Pennsylvania to award over $48,000 in counsel fees for willful failure of a state agency to release public records. Parsons, et al. v. PHEAA, 910 A.2d 177 (Commw.).

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