top of page


Have you been denied access to government documents? Copies of meeting minutes, resolutions and the school board payroll should not be treated like top-secret information. They are public records. You have a legal right to get copies of the variance for the shopping center up the road as well as the landscaping contract that was given to the mayor’s nephew. Donald Doherty believes in this right, and fights vigorously on behalf of our clients’ access rights. We represent newspapers, citizen-activists, bloggers and community groups of all political and philosophical persuasions. This country was founded under the premise of access to government and meaningful access can only be had by having access to the records of its actions.

Donald Doherty has been the counsel of choice on some of the most well known and important access cases that have shaped the law. More than 30 articles have been published about our cases by various newspapers. No matter where you live in New Jersey, your local paper has probably had one of our cases in the headlines. Our better known cases include:

  • Dugan v. Camden County Clerk, a class action striking down the obscenely high copy costs for self-serve copies in government offices.


  • Fernandez v. Willingboro and Constantine v. Bass River, class actions striking down excessive costs imposed for copies of the evidence the government uses to prosecute you in municipal court.


  • AC-SPCA v. Absecon, a case overruling several Government Records Council opinions that incorrectly blocked the SPCA’s access to dog license records on purported privacy grounds.


  • Scobolink-O’Neill v. Haddon Heights, standing for the proposition that taped meetings must be given to you in a format you can actually listen to (imagine that!!) rather than a super high speed recording that can only be played on specialized equipment owned by the government.


  • O’Shea v. West Milford, a series of cases dealing with public access to settlement agreements for litigation with public employees and whether a municipality can impose charges greater than allowed by statute.


  • O’Shea & Paff v. Emerson, a case involving public access to police discipline records.


We never charge for OPRA or civil rights representation. We take public records access cases statewide throughout New Jersey.  When we win, the government must pay all costs and counsel fees. If your request has already been denied, we will assist you in drafting another to make sure your request was not denied because it was unclear. Once it is certain the government is not going to “come clean” with the records, we do not take cases to the GRC in the hope that things will “work out.” We take the cases straight to court, push them vigorously through the system, and assist you in managing any media attention focused on the issues. We do not “play politics.” We are non-partisan and pro-citizen. We do not just represent newspaper reporters or community activists – almost all of our clients are “regular people” who just wanted to exercise their right to know and were stopped in their tracks.

bottom of page