Josh Bonn is a trial attorney who represents clients in railroad, automotive, media, insurance and financial industries. He also advises several mid-state municipalities and is the Solicitor for Capital Tax Collection Bureau. He formerly worked as an assistant district attorney in York County, Pennsylvania. Josh has a Distinguished™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
Josh resides with his wife and three children in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the 2017 class of Leadership Harrisburg Area’s Community Leadership Series.
Josh has extensive experience representing municipalities, individuals and media entities in public records litigation under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). He routinely briefs and argues open records appeals in the Office of Open Records (OOR) and in trial and appellate courts. He has obtained favorable rulings for his clients in numerous matters including:
- Department of Education emails related to the Jerry Sandusky scandal declared to be public records. Bagwell v. Pennsylvania Dep’t of Educ., 76 A.3d 81 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2013).
- Emails transmitted by Township Supervisors on personal email accounts declared to be public records. Mollick v. Township of Worcester, 32 A.3d 859 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011).
- Agency may not use prepayment demand as means to avoid processing request. Pennsylvania Dep’t of Educ. v. Bagwell, 131 A.3d 638 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2016).
- Exemptions to public access do not apply to records made unconditionally public by law other than RTKL, subject to constitutional balancing test for personal information. Reese v. Pennsylvanians for Union Reform, 173 A.3d 1143 (Pa. 2017).
- Applications for permits to grow, process, and distribute medical marijuana in Pennsylvania are public records subject to “minimal redaction” to ensure facility security. Mission Pennsylvania, LLC v. McKelvey, ______ A.3d ______ (Pa. Commw. 2019).
Josh lectures various groups on provisions of the RTKL, including the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, the Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs, and the Dauphin County Bar Association. He regularly contributes to the practice group’s RTKL blog. He co-authored with Nauman Smith Partner Craig Staudenmaier. Right-to-Know Law—Judicial and Legislative Developments, Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, July 2015.
As a member of the firm’s Municipal Law practice group, Josh serves as the Solicitor for the Capital Area Tax Collection Bureau, and counsels local governments in governance, zoning, land use and subdivision, codes enforcement, and public records matters.
Among Josh’s articles are:
- Maintaining Electronic Records in Your Borough, Borough News, July 2016.
- Municipal Regulation of Signs, What Reed v. Town of Gilbert could mean for your Borough, Borough News, December 2015 (with Nauman Smith Partner Stephen Feinour).
Josh’s experience with Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law is especially beneficial to Nauman Smith’s municipal clients, as he can quickly identify whether the requested information is public and devise an effective strategy to respond to requests in a cost-effective manner.
Josh counsels Class I, regional, and shortline railroads in a variety of matters including:
- Personal injury cases arising from crossing accidents and workplace accidents arising under the Federal Employees Liability Act (FELA).
- Administrative proceedings before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) involving the maintenance of rail-highway crossings.
- Administrative proceedings before the United States Surface Transportation Board (STB) involving the abandonment and discontinuance of rail lines.
- Condemnation proceedings instituted by natural gas utilities.
Josh has knowledge of preemption issues under the Federal Rail Safety Act, the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (the “ICCTA”). He is familiar with the procedures for eminent domain proceedings in federal and Pennsylvania courts.
In addition to the litigation services described above, Josh handles a variety of other civil litigation matters, including replevin, mortgage foreclosure, ejectment, enforcement of judgments and bankruptcy matters.
Josh handles appeals in Pennsylvania’s Supreme, Commonwealth, and Superior courts and in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, he has experience in handling complex matters including legal proceedings instituted in the Commonwealth Court’s original jurisdiction.
- Successfully represented landowners in a declaratory judgment action regarding the constitutionality of a local ordinance. After the trial court found that the ordinance was constitutional as applied to the landowners, Josh pursued an appeal to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court reversed and directed the trial court to enter a summary judgment in the landowners’ favor. See Borough of New Bloomfield v. Wagner, 35 A.3d 839 (Pa.Cmwlth.2012).
- Obtained favorable ruling from Commonwealth Court for client seeking to obtain information from the Department of Education related to Louis Freeh’s investigation of the Sandusky scandal at Penn State University. Bagwell v. Pennsylvania Dep’t of Educ., -A.3d-, 2013 WL 3778927 (Pa.Cmwlth.2013).