The Standard of Review

SCOPAblog Presents: Uniontown Newspapers, Inc. v. Pa. Dept. of Corr.

April 22, 2021 Presented by SCOPAblog Season 1 Episode 2
The Standard of Review
SCOPAblog Presents: Uniontown Newspapers, Inc. v. Pa. Dept. of Corr.
Chapters
The Standard of Review
SCOPAblog Presents: Uniontown Newspapers, Inc. v. Pa. Dept. of Corr.
Apr 22, 2021 Season 1 Episode 2
Presented by SCOPAblog

Host Corrie Woods interviews fellow appellate attorneys Charlie Kelly and Michael Joyce to discuss the impact of SCOPA's ruling in Uniontown Newspapers, Inc. v. Pa. Dept. of Corr., interpreting an issue of first impression regarding PA's Right to Know Law.

Show Notes:

Read more about Uniontown Newspapers and all of SCOPA's cases on SCOPAblog.



Show Notes Transcript

Host Corrie Woods interviews fellow appellate attorneys Charlie Kelly and Michael Joyce to discuss the impact of SCOPA's ruling in Uniontown Newspapers, Inc. v. Pa. Dept. of Corr., interpreting an issue of first impression regarding PA's Right to Know Law.

Show Notes:

Read more about Uniontown Newspapers and all of SCOPA's cases on SCOPAblog.



*Transcript produced with Otter AI.  May contain errors.

Corrie Woods  0:00  
Hi everyone and welcome to this the second episode of the standard of review by SCOPAblog. We'll be talking today about the case of Uniontown newspapers Inc. Versus Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, in which the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that the department acted in bad faith and failing to comply with an order granting a journalist request for records related to a startling rash of inmate illnesses. It also held importantly, that the department's bad faith justified an award of some $120,000 in attorneys fees before we begin just a bit of background. At the time of the founding, Pennsylvania was a leader in free speech and free press rights. But even as these principles translated in other states into robust laws allowing private citizens access to public records, Pennsylvania's law called the right to know act lagged behind, creating a path for citizens to get them by putting procedural stumbling blocks in their way. Then in 2008, the General Assembly enacted a new law the right to know law, which purported to invert these procedural traps, enacting a presumption that all records are public and putting the burden on the agency to prove otherwise. It also created a third party agency the Office of open records, charged with adjudicating disputes about public records, and promoting the laws goals of transparency. Today's case in Uniontown newspapers starts when a journalist Christine Haynes with the union town Herald standard emailed a request for records the department asking for documents regarding guard an inmate cancer and other health issues at a Fayette County correctional institution where they were occurring and an alarmingly high rate. And as you'll see, it also involves the department's utter failure to meaningfully entertain, much less fulfill that request even after it was ordered to do so by the Office of open records. Both the initial health scandal and the department's failure to respond to the request itself have become news stories in their own rights. And the court's decision puts Pennsylvania government agencies on notice, pay attention to request for public records and give citizens what they're entitled to, or be prepared to pay. I'm sitting down today with the newspapers counsel, Charlie Kelly, and Mike Joyce to talk more in depth about the case. First, a bit about our guests. Charlie Kelly is a partner in the Pittsburgh Office of Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr and has been a leading first amendment practitioner in Pennsylvania for over 25 years, Charlie has represented numerous newspaper chains in the United States in matters ranging from defamation open records, pre publication review, copyright and trademark news rack regulation and open access to public meetings in courtrooms. He's argued first amendment issues before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Superior Court and Commonwealth court as well as the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. His clients have included such household names as the Pittsburgh post Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune review, and usa today and extend to the broadcast world as well, where Charlie recently and successfully represented National Public Radio through its Midwestern affiliate Chicago Public Media, Mr. Kelly has also participated in the drafting of significant media publications for both national and statewide audiences, including the Pennsylvania open records and sunshine act chapter as commissioned by the reporters committee for freedom of the press and a copyright handbook commissioned by the Pennsylvania newspaper Association Foundation, entitled copyright protecting your content. Mr. Kelly also serves with other leading Pennsylvania first amendment practitioners on the Pennsylvania bar associations press star committee on first amendment issues prior to attending law school at Georgetown, Mr. Kelly was an award winning newspaper reporter for the Pittsburgh post Gazette, where he was employed immediately upon his graduation from Northwestern University's Graduate School of Journalism, known as the Middle School of Journalism. Mr. Kelly, thank you for being with us today.

Charlie Kelly  3:46  
Corrie, thank you so much for for having us. This is a great public service that you and your wife Ashley provide.

Corrie Woods  3:54  
Excellent. Well, thank thank you. Michael Joyce is a partner in the Pittsburgh Office of Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr after graduating first in his class from Duquesne University School of Law in 2011. Mike was an associate at a Pittsburgh based regional law firm for two years. He made the move to Saul Ewing in late 2013 and was promoted to partner in 2020. Mike's practice focuses on commercial litigation, risk cases, and insurance disputes. He also has an active first amendment practice, which has provided him with the opportunity to represent newspapers, media companies, reality television producers, and professional sports teams on a wide variety of matters, including open records disputes. Most recently he has guided the firm's higher education clients on open records issues and practices. Outside of his law practice. Mike serves on the associate board and Development Committee for Pressley ridge. He is also a Pittsburgh clo ambassador, and we'll share the clo signature annual fundraiser the wine tasting and silent auction to take place early this summer. Mike lives in the North Hills of Pittsburgh with his wife Alison, and almost three year old triplets. When Amelia and Eva Thank you, Mike, for joining us today.

Michael Joyce  5:04  
Thanks, Corrie, really looking forward to chatting today.

Corrie Woods  5:07  
Excellent. So I guess the first question I'd like to ask Charlie is we're here to talk about the union town case itself, but the roots of the case lay some degree back in time. Can you talk a little bit about how the case began and, and any necessary background?

Charlie Kelly  5:23  
Yes, thanks. Thanks very much, Cory. The the history of the case is this and part of it is you're right my my history with this client. So I was lucky enough among the genes I have represented. I represented a chain called Caulkins media, which has or had a newspaper called union town newspapers Inc. It does business as the union town Herald standard. Caulkins media had newspapers and television stations that stretched from Pennsylvania to Alabama. But the very first newspaper was in Union town, Mr. Caulkins lived in Union town I have represented the union town Herald standard is owned by the coffins media and now actually owned by Ogden newspapers as of a couple of years ago. Ogden, among other things, owns the Pittsburgh Pirates as the primary owner and seven springs and is a newspaper chain that stretches from Pennsylvania includes other papers like the Altoona mirror all the way to Utah. So at any rate, the managing editor of the newspaper along with a reporter called me and said, Hey, Charlie, we're working on a really significant story, which relates to a little town called LaBelle, which is near union town. And it also involves the state correctional Institute at Fayette. And what we're learning from guards at the prison is that there is a host of illness there, ranging from such horrible conditions as brain cancer, throat cancer, tongue cancer to significant gastrointestinal problems, and it affects both prisoners and guards. And a that in and of itself is a story. Second, we're trying to understand the pollutants in the area. And if they may be attributed or causing these illnesses, there is a fly ash dump. fly ash is a byproduct of coal mining that we believe is seeping into the groundwater and may be affecting the water in the correctional facility. There's also a water filtration plant down the way that we think is not working properly, that may be the source of the pollution. And in any event, we have asked the Department of Corrections of Pennsylvania for documents, and I've actually prevailed in that request before the Office of open records. And we have a problem. The Department of Corrections won't give us the meaning of the newspaper, all the documents that we want, that relate to the types of illnesses and the amount of those illnesses or numbers of those illnesses at the correctional facility. And the question becomes, what do we do? So that's how the case arrived. And we said, This actually is a fascinating situation, because it's never arisen before. In Pennsylvania, the device of the Office of open records is something that came into existence after the amendment of the old right to know act into the right to know law that became effective in 2009. And the way things are supposed to work if a party which can be in Pennsylvania, a person or a newspaper or a reporter, any Pennsylvanian can approach an agency ask for documents if they aren't given. It's a it's adjudicated. That issue of production is educated in the initial instance, between before the Office of open records once there's a final determination from the Office of open records that they're supposed to be production, they're supposed to be production. And so here we were, for the first time, there's no production. This is called a case of first impression. What do you do? And we'll talk about that in greater detail, but we told them, there's no specific legal path. We're going to have to create the law here. But we think that we can do that there was nothing in the right to know act or I'm sorry, right to know law by way of a statutory provision that explained exactly what you do at a moment like this, the legislature presumed agencies required

Unknown Speaker  10:00  
To produce would produce. So that's how the case arrived. Essentially, you're dealing with, as you said, a question of first impression where the Office of open records has said agency produce these documents and the agency has just sort of become obstreperous one might even say bad faith. And in fact, you do say bad faith. Can you explain sort of the path that you carved out from there and sort of where it came from in the law? Yeah, it actually, I think what I'll do now, Cory, if it's okay with you, is turn that topic over to my partner, Mike Joyce, who was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Excellent, thanks, Korean. Thanks, Charlie. You know, normally, if a party's unhappy with what happens at the office of open records, there's an appeal. And there's a function for an appeal under the right to know law. So if an agency's ordered to produce but doesn't think it needs to produce, then the agency would appeal. And on the other hand, if the requester is denied access, but still wants the documents or the information, you would probably see an appeal from the requester, then the parties are arguing on appeal if a production is required. Here, the O are ordered, quote, all responsive records to be produced, the newspaper was obviously satisfied with that rolling because it one and it should get all the information it wants, the DLC didn't appeal. But instead it produced a handful of documents, then said, We have nothing else that put the newspaper and go to court. Yeah. And, and just to be clear, if this were, for example, a civil case where you were in court, and the court had ordered the production of certain documents, ordinarily, you would just you would go and file a motion to compel or a motion for contempt or some kind of pleading to say, Hey, hold these folks in contempt or impose some sort of sanction. Right? Exactly, yeah. And so you would have again, a settled path to one figure out what's left and then go after the documents in court. Here we were in this bizarre position of the newspaper actually had to seek enforcement of what the O r was doing. And it believed the D o C's response remained incomplete. But not only did we not know where to go, necessarily procedurally, but it was also tough to determine what else the DOC was hiding or had in its repositories, because they're in total control of that. And we had no prior discovery or effort to really be able to understand what the DOC was doing. So our first question was, how the heck do we get back into court and enforce the issue. And there might have been one or two enforcement actions before nothing really similar to what we were doing. We thought maybe a mandamus petition might be the right way to go because we'd be forcing the DOC government agency to fulfill its official functions under the right to know law. But where we landed was a petition for review, which does was the more traditional route when you're dealing with an underlying agency decision, and then and then need some appellate review of it. And there was really no magic to what we did aside from saying, here's a petition for review of exactly what we want enforcement of the final determination of the O r, from February 6 2015. I do recall, there was some chatter maybe in a footnote in some of the earlier Commonwealth court opinion saying, We don't know if this is the right vehicle, it's not settled things like that. And I'm not sure if the courts have even landed on a consensus, because I don't think there's been more than maybe a handful of enforcement actions after us. But ultimately, they let us proceed, which was good, and we didn't get a huge battle, at least as to our initial pleading, and whether that was the correct pleading.

Charlie Kelly  13:51  
In court, if I could add one thing here, and on top of Mike's terrific explanation there is when we started to contemplate this, as trial lawyers, and in particular, as media trial lawyers, we realized that we had a remarkable first of its kind opportunity in Pennsylvania, which is this, by its obstreperous by its unwillingness to produce the d. o. c, under this new right to know law had opened itself up to discovery. I'm not aware of any other case in Pennsylvania under either the right to know act or under the right to know law where a newspaper was able to demand discovery, including deposition discovery, of how an agency proceeded to either fulfill or failed to fulfill its duty under law to provide documents to Pennsylvania citizens that reflect elected, how that agency acted. So we advise the newspaper this case, if we proceed, and if we get traction is going to lead to places we've never been before. In in Pennsylvania, and indeed, it did.

Corrie Woods  15:21  
Yeah. And that's that's primarily owing, I guess, to the fact that it's not appellate review, strictly speaking of the O R. But really, it's it's an enforcement action like any other civil action, right?

Charlie Kelly  15:32  
Yes, that's exactly right court, we suddenly were in what is a trial setting with access to discovery. And if there were not, you're in if the DLC did not comply. Going back to your comments, which in light of this conversation, we're pression. A second ago, we were either going to get what we needed, or we've had the right to compel discovery and force, the BOC to tell us what it did. And, you know, it's worth saying here in case, both for the lawyers and maybe non lawyers who may ultimately listen to this podcast, the significance of open records cannot be understated. The the right of the citizens of Pennsylvania, to petition their government to produce documents and information about the activities of the government is the way we have an informed citizenry, it's the way we scrutinize the activities of government, it's the way that we help ensure that we have good government, not bad government. I think it was justice black, who once said in the Pentagon Papers, that treachery is born in secrecy. And so this is a really important activity in Pennsylvania. And that's really what was at stake here trying to create law that ensured that citizens could scrutinize the activity of their government.

Corrie Woods  17:08  
Yeah. And and try I mean, you know, to some extent that that is a uniquely Pennsylvanian activity as well, right. I'm thinking of some of the sort of pre American constitutional first amendment adjunct ideas that know what Pennsylvania

Charlie Kelly  17:24  
Yeah, you're absolutely right. Cory. And, and this is something that I've been preaching in courts for 20 or 25 years. And that we don't appreciate Pennsylvania had a state constitution enacted back in 1776. And none other than Ben Franklin was the chairman of the first Pennsylvania constitutional convention, which included 24. Unfortunately, it was an all male group, we didn't have the benefit of wise women. But those that group created a state constitution that enshrined free speech protection, which included access to government because speeches, not just talking speeches, also having information, the ability to hear and read and scrutinize. So also of the nine states of the original 13 colonies who ended up with state constitutions. Only one Pennsylvania had both a free speech and a free press clause. And the historians believe that when James Madison wrote the First Amendment, which enshrines both speech and press, Madison was reading Franklin's state constitution. So our roots in Pennsylvania are very deep and very strong when it comes to speech, freedom of press, and the ability of the citizens to petition their government for information so they can scrutinize and demand good government. Yes. And,

Corrie Woods  19:04  
you know, I know that the the court is particularly fond of, of mentioning whenever it gets the opportunity that Pennsylvania constitutional provisions are the inspiration for rather than derivative of their federal counterparts.

Charlie Kelly  19:18  
Yes, exactly. Right court. You're exactly right about that. And it's, and it's a terrific thing, we should shout from the rooftops that this is who we are,

Corrie Woods  19:27  
and and jumping back into the the case. So we're at the discovery stage. Now, Mike, now that you've gotten discovery, what did you find?

Michael Joyce  19:36  
It was really remarkable because like we've been talking about, it's not very often in any case, let alone a right to know case that you get to kind of peel back the curtain and start figuring out what was happening within the agency. And I remember sitting in our Harrisburg office, in a conference room for these depositions and it was just kind of stunning admission one after another. 

Unknown Speaker  20:03  
The first thing we learned, which I actually thought would get more mileage in the courts, but didn't was that because the DOC mishandled the request, there was a bunch of very relevant responsive information in a database that was lost because it wasn't preserved around the time of the request. And it really would have been the exact information we wanted. And instead, we kind of had to pivot and collect information from other sources. To get to what we wanted, we discovered that the DLC did not have any real training or solid systems in place to handle right to know request. And, and although that wasn't necessarily stunning, it's for an agency Generally, the DLC i think is is the busiest of all agencies in open records requests, because they have inmates who file requests all the time about their own information about other inmates about whatever's going on at facilities. So you would think that a an agency that's handling 1000s of requests a year would have some sort of system in place, and and follow it. And I think the most striking thing that happened was that we found out that the DLC never really looked for any documents. At some point, it sounded like the DOC had never really even read and considered the request until some point during the litigation. And so what what set up, and this is what really got us to the bad faith conclusion as well is that the DLC denied the request and produced produce some documents and then, but but raised defenses, denied the request without even knowing what it had by way of responsive information. And I guess my related question is, so once once this gets litigated, what are the factual theories around the question of bad faith? Is it just bumbling is not bad faith? Or is it? Was there some suggestion that you know what they were doing was reasonable? There was an argument that it was reasonable from the DOC. And in particular, I think what we heard was, the DOC already knew what it had, because there was this separate report from the abolitionist society. And the abolitionist society had done an investigation on SCI Fayette, regarding some of the same medical issues that we were talking about, and there was some overlap, but because a few months before the request, the DOC had provided information to the abolitionist society, it said, we know what we have, we'll just give you the same information. And that that's a problem for a number of reasons. But just at its most basic level, imagine the mischief if an agency can sit there and say, Oh, well, we know everything we have. And so what we're giving you is, is everything that's responsive, and we don't have to do anything else. It was just incredible to hear that. And then also see it briefed all the way through up to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And I think we've very powerfully responded, you know, searching for documents is the first step that has to happen. And it has to happen. Every time. You know, these agencies are big. There's lots of people involved, there's tons of information, just saying we know what's there. I mean, I don't even know what's in the filing cabinet next to me, you know, I can't imagine that a right to know officer at the DOC knows what's, you know, across dozens of prisons, and all the electronic information they have and everything else, it was it was chest crazy to hear that. Right. And then that makes sense kind of going forward. Right? Because, you know, otherwise, every agency could employ someone, you know, shove them into a tiny office somewhere and in, you know, school County, and and, you know, they'd be allowed to avoid a bad faith finding by just saying, Well, you know, there's no one here, but that's chickens. I don't I don't see anything. So there must It must not exist. Exactly. And the funny thing is that part of the reason we were able to support the bad faith rolling, not only with the admissions and discovery, but we also use discovery to actually obtain documents that we thought the paper was owed from the request. And so we were able to show the court Look, here's the testimony saying, they didn't look for it. They didn't find it, they didn't produce it. But also in discovery, we received all of these documents and information. This information is clearly within the request. So we it looks like the first time the DLC really thought about the request and started looking was through discovery and through our prompting for document productions and otherwise, in court. I'll jump in here for a second just to put a fine point on this and this testimony, did get a little bit of play.

Charlie Kelly  26:35  
there's confidential personal information here, whatever the exception might be. So that paradigm shift was significant. The other thing that was significant was the creation of what we've been talking about the Office of open records, so that there was a body that was created, that was supposed to be learned, and is learned about these speech issues and the right to know law itself and how it works. So the initial appeal goes to a body both learned, and the truth of the matter is leaning, I think, appropriately so toward the notions of speech. And the other thing that emerged from it was, each agency had to designate an open records officer who was familiar with the right to know act rep, sorry, the right to know law, it's functioning, and would fulfill the duties that lie within the right to know law statute. So this brings us back to the fine point now. So there was an is an open records officer at the DOC named it might help me I think his name is Andrew, Phil caskey. That's right. And we cross examine Mr. Phil koskie, in a trial setting in Harrisburg, before the Honorable Judge Simpson of the Commonwealth court and asked him what he did. And he did this. And only this, he read the request, and then passed it on to one other party, he made no effort to review documents, he made no effort to, for that matter, gather documents. Again, we asked him, so in some in substance, all you did was review the request. And he said, Yes. So Mike made great use in the briefing thereafter, and in using it for our bad faith argument that the DLC did nothing. And that really troubled judge Simpson at the Commonwealth court level. And it clearly troubled the majority at the supreme court level. And that's actually a great segue. So once you get the decision for jet from judge Simpson, what does it say? And, you know, how does it dispose of the issues? So judge Simpson, you know, rolled on a couple opinions. I think one we call the bad faith opinion, and the other production opinion, and so on. The first one was the production opinion, the judge, Judge Simpson said, there's a number of different documents that are still outstanding, and ultimately, the DOC needs to produce them. So that put us in a position to get what the main goal of the lawsuit was, was to get the government information and allow the newspaper to evaluate whether there was this health crisis in LaBelle, but, you know, we felt the need to push further because you had all these issues of bad faith and because of the bad faith, we couldn't even get all the information that the newspaper wanted to begin with because some of it was lost. And so that's when we push forward and had

Unknown Speaker  30:00  
It was they were able to convince judge Simpson that the DOC acted in bad faith because there was no good faith search. And then there were a number of ancillary issues with untimely productions, you know, a failure to preserve evidence, the way that the DOC interpreted the request was self serving and narrow, the DSC didn't follow its own procedures, to the extent any existed for right to know request a number of different sort of smaller issues that built into the entire bad faith scenario. And so judge Simpson, also found bad faith. And then the third step we had with judge Simpson was to try to get fees shifted. And we went through a briefing on that. And ultimately, Judge Simpson said, you know, not only is this bad faith, but it's really, really bad faith. And he thought that fee should be shifted around $120,000, which were spent in the litigation, and that's kind of ended the Commonwealth court scenario. And we thought that might be it. But of course, as we've seen, the DLC ended up appealing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And we kind of launched into that in a whole nother set of proceedings on the case. Yeah, and so let's talk a little bit about the Supreme Court's opinion here. I thought justice Monday's opinion was a very straightforward statutory interpretation question, at least on the question of fees. But I also found the concurring opinion, which I believe was justice, whacked and enjoined by Justice Todd, that talked a little bit about the history of the relevant provisions. I found that really compelling as well. And I was wondering if either of you could perhaps offer an opinion as to sort of the statutory analysis. And you know, what was more persuasive to you? It's funny, because for part of the Commonwealth court proceedings, I don't think we were ever overly bothered by the language of the right to know law. I mean, we thought it was clear enough. And also thought, just generally, if fees don't work in this situation, when the heck would they and so the statutory interpretation issue wasn't a major issue before judge Simpson, but it became really the issue with the Supreme Court. And again, you know, the DLCs position was that the fee shifting provision, the way it's written in the right to know law only applies in two scenarios. And the first is when an appeals officer in the DOC took appeals officers, meaning Office of open records is reversed. Or if you have a deemed denial, which normally happens in the right to know law, when the agency doesn't respond at all, or doesn't respond in a timely fashion. And so, you know, while that language, we knew the language wasn't perfect, we thought that that that situation, meaning that all an agency would have to do to avoid fees is lose at the or which would largely be within its control, or not respond at all to the request, or just respond to the request, and that that couldn't be the case. And so I think we really loaded the court up with, you know, well, one, let's start with the title of this statutory provision that says reversal of agency determination. That's what we're dealing with, you should be able to get fees anytime the Oh are ultimately a court reverses a denial by an agency. And there's that thing that that makes sense. And that's how the law is supposed to work. But if we go even further the D o C's interpretation, it creates an entirely absurd result because it rewards bad behavior, the worst cases of denials, are probably going to lose at the O r level, meaning that under the do C's interpretation that would insulate the agency from fee shifting, and Charlie talked about it a little bit earlier. But the right to know law was supposed to expand and improve on the prior right to know Act, the previous language of the right to know act actually would have very clearly covered our situation. So there's no way that the legislature met this situation to be excluded. Now, the fee shifting was supposed to cover more situations. And I thought we had a lot of help from on the amicus brief as well, in particular from the Pennsylvania news media Association, who was at the table when the right to know law was being drafted, saying this is not what we meant. This is not what the legislature meant, and really supporting that absent fee shifting in this situation, the right to know law has no bite at all. It won't be enforceable. Yeah. And just to make it clear for our listeners, in the event that your firm had had lost its endeavor to get those approximately $120,000 in fees, what would the maximum sanction that would be recoverable under the rtkl have been it would have been 15 $100. And so that would have been

Unknown Speaker  35:00  
The Civil fine the only penalty for, you know what we thought was incredibly clear, bad faith under the law. But also, you know, you had years of litigation and years of sophisticated litigation. I mean, who we're thankful for a client who wanted to push it to the end, regardless of whether we won fees. I mean, how often would that happen with a regular requester, you know, just a regular citizen or an inmate or whoever it is, that's entitled to public information, the normal person, the normal requester would not have the wherewithal, or the funds to hire a lawyer, or really the resolve to litigate for years to get information. So I, I ultimately thought that, you know, not only were we happy because the client was reimbursed for fees, but then pinion itself really sent out a warning, I think, to all agencies that, hey, you know, you have to do the right thing under the law. And all the although the burdens not incredibly high, you know, it's a very important role that these agencies fulfill responding to open records requests.

Corrie Woods  36:06  
Yeah, I can't imagine, you know, the average inmate, you know, hiring a large law firm to that's able to litigate these things, and walking away with a bill of $118,500. And, you know, a handful of documents about about their, their, their Correctional Facility, for example. I mean, it's just very bizarre and absurd to think that the, you know, that that an agency can be, as you say, rewarded for essentially being in contempt of, of the bar.

Charlie Kelly  36:35  
I think, Corrie, I think you're absolutely right about that, of course. And I also think that the really significant, and Mike's just alluded to it, the really significant moment here is that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an opinion that really fortifies and gives special power now, to this right to know law. And this case, as long as the right to know law exists, this case will be cited for decades to come hits that central to the operation of the law. And so at any rate, I would say we're gratified as Meteor lawyers that the Commonwealth court and then the Supreme Court, I like to think return to its roots. And once again, if you're a Pennsylvania citizen, seeking to scrutinize the activities of your government, you have another significant precedent to reach out to, if for whatever reason that government doesn't want you to look.

Corrie Woods  37:43  
And now the means to have someone to actually vindicate that for you where that's exactly right. That's exactly right. So, you know, obviously, the the win and the money is important to every attorney. But where does your clients sort of go from here? Have you gotten everything that you wanted? Or that still exist and you wanted? And what have you found out and to what benefit has it been for, you know, folks who wanted to take a look at what the DSC was doing, or just sort of government? Generally? Yeah, I found, one of the interesting things about the entire process is that the litigation itself ended up becoming news worries worthy. So not only was the information that we obtained, and, and we did get all of it that the court said we were entitled to, and that was still in existence. So the newspaper was able was able to deal with that. But, you know, throughout the entire time, you saw the stories, not only in the Herald standard, but also, you know, across the state, and then open records publications where the litigation and what was happening throughout the Commonwealth court and the PA Supreme Court, that became the story. So it was interesting to see that along the way. Yeah. And just out of curiosity, has there been any response or action taken by DSA since then, that suggests perhaps some that they're taking the issue more seriously, or, or not just the issue of, you know, the coal ash dump next to sci fi yet, but, you know, the issue of public scrutiny, I don't think we've seen anything publicly. But you know, I hope that the opinion not only hit the DOC in a way that made the DOC rethink how it handles open records requests and, and some of these other issues of public concern, you know, but also that it really calls to the other agencies just to make sure you have the voluntary compliance. So hopefully, these these situations don't arise, because ultimately, the, you know, the fees are, it's not like you sue a private company, and you're taking money away from the bottom line. These are unfortunately, taxpayer funds that end up covering the fines. So hopefully, there will be some impetus to you know, perhaps political control of, you know, just the administration of these requests. That's our hope. are either of you going to be engaged in any promotions of any, you know, CLS or seminars or any