The complexities of the new Pennsylvania Right to Know Law impact virtually every government agency and every corporate, media and private entity seeking access to public information in Pennsylvania today. Governments operating at every level in the Commonwealth – boroughs, townships, municipal authorities, counties, and similar agencies, as well as other publicly- funded entities, like schools, community colleges, and universities now face compliance and regulatory issues arising out of the new law.

Leading edge approach serving public and private sectors

The highly skilled attorneys at Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, LLP are prepared to assist regardless of the issue or concern. They bring an experienced and unique balance to RTK issues as the firm has some of the top attorneys in the Commonwealth practicing in this new and developing area.  The group is comprised of lawyers who represent media, business and private citizen interests, and experienced municipal solicitors who have dealt with issues under the new RTK law from the agency point of view. This balance and insight allow Nauman Smith to offer its clients a full perspective on these difficult and emerging issues and how best to approach them regardless of the clients’ particular interests.

Our full range of services include:

  • Analysis of whether records are subject to public disclosure
  • Assistance with or making requests for public records
  • Representation in appeals to the Office of Open Records, courts of common pleas and the Commonwealth Court
  • Advise local agencies on compliance

Significant cases include:

  • Mollick v. Twp of Worcester, 32 A.3d 859 (Pa.Cmwlth.)
  • Signature Information Solutions, LLC v. Aston Twp, 995 A.2d 510 (Pa.Cmwlth.)
  • Penn State University v. State Employees’ Retirement Board, 935 A.2d 530 (Pa. Supreme Ct.)
  • Parsons, et al. v. PHEAA, 910 A.2d 177 (Pa. Cmwlth.)

Members of the practice group write for publications and speak regularly at seminars sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania Boroughs Association.

Media Law

For over 40 years, the attorneys of Nauman Smith have been assisting print and broadcast media with a variety of publishing and legal issues. The recognition that prompt, knowledgeable action and effective results are necessary in the deadline driven world facing our media clients is at the core of our representation.

Our attorneys represent journalists, broadcasters and publishers in all phases of media law including:

  • Right to Know access
  • Sunshine Act violations
  • Defamation defense
  • Defense of subpoenas to reporters and publishers
  • First Amendment issues
  • Prepublication review

We have successfully represented media clients in both state and federal court in matters involving the attempt to force reporters to testify on matters protected by Constitutional and state law privileges.  Nauman Smith has also successfully defended media clients in defamation and privacy actions.  Significant cases include:

  • Patriot-News Co. v. Empowerment Team of Harrisburg School Dist., 763 A.2d 539 (Pa. Cmwlth.)
  • York Newspapers Inc. v. The City of York, 826 A.2d 41 (Pa.Cmwlth.)
  • Ertel v. Patriot-News Co., 544 Pa. 93, 674 A.2d 1038
  • Marsico v. Patriot-News Co., Dauphin County Ct. C.P.

The firm’s attorneys have presented seminars on media topics for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, of which the firm is a member, and the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors.  Craig J. Staudenmaier, Chair of the Practice Group, is the past Co-chair of Bar/Press Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and General Counsel for the Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition.