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Butler County man, state police have 8 days to respond to Trib's motion in lawsuit

| Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 5:42 p.m.

Lawyers for a Butler County man and the state police have eight days to respond to the Tribune-Review's motion to intervene in a lawsuit that both sides want to keep from public view.

U.S. Magistrate Maureen Kelly on Thursday deferred ruling on the Trib's motion, filed on Wednesday. The Trib wants into the case for the sole purpose of fighting the motion to seal it.

Jeffrey L. Burtner, 54, of Butler is suing the state police because the agency has refused to remove an error in its records that blocked his purchase of a hunting rifle on May 24, 2012.

Because the case deals with medical records, including mental health records, and other personal information, lawyers for Burtner and the state police say Kelly should seal the entire case, including any settlement.

The Trib contends the public has a strong interest in observing a case that “deals with alleged governmental abuse of power” that resulted in bad information being used to block someone from buying a firearm. It has the right to know the details of any settlement the state makes in the case, the newspaper says. Kelly can seal records dealing with Burtner's personal information without sealing the entire case, the Trib said in its motion.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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