Pennsylvania Court Upholds Dismissal of Newspaper’s Suit Against Lawmaker

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A newspaper lost its legal battle to obtain the phone records of a state lawmaker.

The state Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of The Herald-Standard’s lawsuit against Rep. Larry Roberts, D-Fayette.

The Herald-Standard has been trying since 2000 to get cellular and long-distance phone records from Roberts, arguing they are public because the calls were paid for with state money.

The paper also claimed a former Herald-Standard reporter’s civil rights were violated because Roberts had shown the records to other members of the media but not to the reporter.

Commonwealth Court judges dismissed the case in May without considering the reporter’s claims. The Supreme Court affirmed that dismissal in a ruling last week with a one-sentence order.

Publisher Val J. Laub said he was appalled at the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“However, behind every cloud is a silver lining and I believe that the judicial actions of our state courts will serve the media industry well by inciting newspapers across the state to continue the battle to move Pennsylvania from one of the worst states in the county for access to public records, to a much needed higher level,” Laub said for Thursday’s papers.

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