Judge: Why should Butler man's records case be sealed?
A federal judge on Friday ordered lawyers for a Butler County man and the state police to explain why a lawsuit regarding a records error that is preventing him from buying a hunting rifle should remain secret.
Jeffrey L. Burtner, 54, of Butler claims state police refused to remove an error in the agency's records that prevented him from buying a hunting rifle on May 24, 2012. State police incorrectly reported that Burtner was involuntarily committed to Butler Memorial Hospital in 1992, the lawsuit claims.
Both sides have asked that the entire case be sealed, not only medical and mental health records and other personal information.
The Tribune-Review this week intervened in a court action to keep the case from being hidden from public scrutiny, including its outcome and any possible settlement.
“The parties are to address the presumption of public access and the ‘good cause' factors,” U.S. District Judge Maureen Kelly wrote in her order. “The parties are further directed to address why the entry of a protective order would not sufficiently protect the confidentiality of any medical and treatment records.”
Both sides have a week to respond.
Trib lawyer Ronald Barber said the judge's action reflects a balanced approach to resolving the issue.
“The court wants the parties to focus on the overall presumption that courts are open,” Barber said, “and on the fact that there are specific tools available to protect specific information that should remain private.”
Lawyers for Burtner and the state police did not respond to requests for comment.
Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or email@example.com.
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.
- State closing Zelienople treatment facility after allegations of child sexual abuse
- OSHA fines Mars excavating company for March trench collapse
- South Butler teachers’ union rejects recommendations for new contract
- Charges pending in Butler County Rottweiler attack
- Officials identify Clearfield man killed in Butler County trench collapse