Union Leader Corp. v. New Hampshire Retirement Sys.Annotate this Case
Defendant New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS) appealed a superior court decision that ordered it to disclose certain retiree benefit records requested by Plaintiff Union Leader Corporation under the state Right-to-Know Law. A Union Leader reporter requested that NHRS provide a list of retirement system members who received the highest annual pension payments for the 2009 calendar year. NHRS denied the request, but offered to provide a list of all state annuities ranked from highest to lowest. Union Leader thereafter filed suit requesting the list. On appeal, NHRS argued that the trial court erred in: (1) concluding that the plain language of the Right-to-Know Law (RSA 91-A:4, I-a) required disclosure of the requested records; (2) finding RSA 91-A:4, I-a unambiguous and therefore failing to consult legislative history; (3) failing to recognize the privacy interest at stake in disclosing retirees' names and annuity amounts; and (4) failing to assess the public's interest in disclosure and balance it against NHRS's interest in nondisclosure and the retirees' privacy interests. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that RSA 91-A:4, I-a did not compel disclosure of the records at issue, but that the records were subject to disclosure under the general mandate of RSA 91-A:4 and Article 8 of the state constitution. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court's decision ordering disclosure of the records in Union Leader's request.