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PG Publishing Company, Inc. v. Governor's Office of Administration

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

July 9, 2015

PG Publishing Company, Inc. d/b/a the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Petitioner
v.
Governor's Office of Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Respondents

Argued, June 18, 2015.

As Amended July 10, 2015.

Page 457

Court of ORIGINAL JURISDICTION.

Frederick N. Frank, Pittsburgh, for petitioner and intervenors PA Media Group d/b/a The Patriot-News and PennLive, Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership and LNP Media Group, Inc.

Jullia A. Sheridan, Chief Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent.

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE BERNARD L. McGINLEY, Judge (P.), HONORABLE P. KEVIN BROBSON, Judge.

Page 458

OPINION

DAN PELLEGRINI, PRESIDENT JUDGE

The Governor's Office of Administration (GOA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) filed preliminary objections to PG Publishing Company, Inc. d/b/a The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PG Publishing)'s amended petition for review. For the reasons that follow, we sustain the GOA and PDE's demurrers and dismiss PG Publishing's amended petition for review with prejudice.

I.

PG Publishing[1] filed an amended petition for review in the nature of a complaint in mandamus (amended PFR)[2] challenging the GOA's and PDE's e-mail-retention policies under the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL)[3] and Section 701( l ) of the Administrative Code of 1929 (Administrative Code).[4] According to PG Publishing, an e-mail retention policy established by GOA and followed by the Commonwealth's executive-branch agencies, including PDE, affords each employee discretion to determine whether an e-mail constitutes a " public record" [5] that should be saved under the RTKL or if it may be deleted as a

Page 459

" transitory" or " non-record." [6] (Am. PFR ¶ ¶ 5, 38.)


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