Pennsylvania law school records to remain closed following court ruling

Four days before arguments were to begin, Pennsylvania’s highest court dismissed a lawsuit claiming the Dickinson School of Law violated the state’s Sunshine Laws when it held a closed board of directors meeting.

In a two-sentence notice, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by local newspapers finding that the case was not “proper for argument.”

In April, the Commonwealth Court reversed a lower court decision that said a merger in 2000 between Dickinson School of Law, a private school, and Penn State University, a public school, required the private school to comply with the state’s open-records and open-meetings laws.

A state law passed during the summer requires merging institutions to comply with the open-records law if either institution was previously subject to the laws. The newspapers’ case focused on the release of decisions and minutes from meetings held before the law took effect.

Because of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s refusal to hear substantive arguments in the case, the law will not apply retroactively and those decisions and minutes from the closed meetings will not be released.