The New Jersey Law Journal published "Litigators Face New Challenges Under Revised Open Records Law," explaining that some New Jersey litigators will need to adjust their methods in light of Governor Murphy's decision to sign a measure modifying the state's Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

Cohn Lifland's Walter Luers, who represents records requesters said, "I think that because OPRA remains a remedial statute, courts will still accept arguments that, even in the absence of bad faith on the part of a records custodian, counsel fees should be awarded to prevailing plaintiffs.”

Luers is more concerned, however, about whether a law firm representing a records requester in OPRA litigation is considered a commercial requester under the new law. The legislators who drafted the law say it was needed because of the burden that commercial data companies create for records custodians. Requesters who give the wrong answer on whether they are commercial entities are subject to a $1,000 fine under the new law, Luers said. “Law firms are going to have to look very carefully as to whether or not requests that they file on behalf of a requester are commercial requests.”

He adds, “I think that’s a gray area that’s probably going to have to be litigated.”