Bozzi v. City of Jersey City

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Justia Opinion Summary

Plaintiff Ernest Bozzi requested copies of defendant Jersey City’s most recent dog license records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law right of access. Plaintiff, a licensed home improvement contractor, sought the information on behalf of his invisible fence installation business. Plaintiff noted that Jersey City could redact information relating to the breed of the dog, the purpose of the dog, and any phone numbers associated with the records. He sought only the names and addresses of the dog owners. Jersey City denied plaintiff’s request on two grounds: (1) the disclosure would be a violation of the citizens’ reasonable expectation of privacy, contrary to N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, by subjecting the dog owners to unsolicited commercial contact; and (2) such a disclosure may jeopardize the security of both dog-owners’ and non-dog-owners’ property. The trial court found the dog licensing records were not exempt and ordered Jersey City to provide the requested information. The New Jersey Supreme Court concurred, concluding that owning a dog was a substantially public endeavor in which people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy that exempted their personal information from disclosure under the privacy clause of OPRA.

DATE      NAME OF CASE (DOCKET NUMBER)

9-21-21   In the Matter of John Robertelli (D-126-19; 084373)

          *After conducting a de novo review of the record and affording deference
          to the credibility findings of the Special Master, the Court concludes that
          the OAE has failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that
          Robertelli violated the RPCs. The disciplinary charges must therefore be
          dismissed.

9-20-21   Ernest Bozzi v. City of Jersey City (A-12-20; 084392)

          Owning a dog is a substantially public endeavor in which people do not
          have a reasonable expectation of privacy that exempts their personal
          information from disclosure under the privacy clause of OPRA.