New Jersey's Supreme Court says a Rutgers University legal clinic doesn't have to release documents under the state's Open Public Records Act.

The Rutgers Environmental Litigation Clinic is based at Rutgers-Newark and provides pro bono legal assistance on environmental matters. In 2004 it began representing two groups opposed to the development of an outlet mall in Sussex County.

The developer, Sussex Commons, sought documents under New Jersey's open records laws to see if a competitor was interfering with its attempts to get tenants for the mall.

Among the documents sought were communications between the competitor's attorneys and the Rutgers clinic.

In Thursday's ruling, the court held that although Rutgers is a public university, its law school clinics don't perform any government functions and shouldn't be subject to open records laws.

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