Refusal to Provide a Newspaper With Access to a Confidential Settlement Agreement

In Tribune-Review Publ'g Co. v. Westmoreland County Housing Authority, 574 Pa. 661, 833 A.2d 112 (2003), a housing authority refused to provide a newspaper owner with access to a confidential settlement agreement between a former employee and the authority's liability insurer in a civil rights action. The authority asserted that it did not possess the document but that the attorney for its insurer possessed it. the Court held that "lack of possession of an existing writing by the public entity at the time of a request pursuant to the the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) is not, by itself, determinative of ... whether the writing is a 'public record' subject to disclosure. A writing is within the ambit of the RTKL if it is subject to the control of the agency." Id. at 118.