Butler County man's lawyer says sealing case only way to protect privacy
By Brian Bowling
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 1:36 p.m.
The lawyer for a Butler County man suing the Pennsylvania State Police said in a court document filed on Wednesday that the only way to protect his client's privacy is to seal the case.
Jeffrey L. Burtner, 54, of Butler is suing the state police because the agency refused to remove an error in its records that blocked his purchase of a hunting rifle on May 24, 2012.
His attorney, Joshua Prince, wants U.S. Magistrate Maureen Kelly to deny the Tribune-Review's motion to intervene in the case so it can argue against removing the entire case from public view.
“But for a clerical error requiring judicial involvement, Mr. Burtner's medical information would be completely insulated from the prying eyes of the media,” Prince said in opposing the Trib's motion. “Merely stepping forward to defend his constitutional and statutory rights to own a firearm should not open up his medical files to public scrutiny. However, if the record is not sealed, that is precisely the result.”
Ron Barber, the Trib's lawyer, said the newspaper agrees that Burtner's medical records should be private but disagrees that the only way to do that is to seal the entire case.
The judge can look at each document and determine which should be kept under seal while keeping the proceeding open so the public can follow a case that, by Burtner's assertion, involves a state agency refusing to correct a clerical error that blocks his constitutional right to buy firearms, Barber said.
“We aren't arguing for anything more than that,” Barber said.
The state hasn't filed its response to the Trib's motion.
Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 73-home subdivision plan approved for Westwood Golf Club
- Forward officials announce furniture sale
- Indiana company gets OK to sell former West Mifflin municipal building
- Starkey: Fleury’s future at stake
- Husband-wife resignations leave Lincoln short-handed
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Duquesne police make drug arrest
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Glassport council to crack down on absentee landlords
- Legal experts question prosecuting South Fayette boy for recording bullies
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1