In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION


Paula Ann Gosline,




against Docket #FIC 86-99


Norwich State Hospital,


Respondent June 3, 1986


The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 29, 1986, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.


After consideration of the entire matter, the following facts are found:


1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.


2. The complainant was a patient at the respondent hospital from March 2, 1986 to March 7, 1986.


3. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on April 8, 1986, the complainant alleged that she had been denied access to records relating to her hospitalization.


4. It is found that on March 4, 5, 6 and 7, 1986 the complainant requested access to review and/or copy all records concerning her hospitalization. By letter dated March 11, 1986 the complainant was informed that the requested records would be available on March 24, 1986. On March 22, 1986 the complainant received a letter from the respondent stating that her "Diagnostic and Discharge Note" was available. By letter dated April 17, 1986 the respondent informed the complainant that all records, not just the discharge summary, would be available at a charge of $20 to $40 and asked the complainant to contact the respondent to make arrangements for copying.


5. The complainant alleged that the respondent denied her prompt access to the requested records.


Docket #FIC 86-99 Page Two


6. Under the Freedom of Information Act the public is entitled to access to inspect or copy public records. It is found that records relating to the complainant's hospitalization do not relate to the conduct of the public's business and are therefore not "public records or files" within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.


7. It is further found that 17-206i(b), G.S. provides a mechanism for disclosure of the type of records sought by the complainant. This Commission, however, lacks jurisdiction to enforce whatever individual right to access the complainant may have pursuant to such statute.


8. It is concluded that the respondent's responses to the complainant's requests did not violate 1-15 or 1-19(a), G.S.


9. Based upon the foregoing conclusion the Commission does not need to address other claims raised by the respondent at hearing.


The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.


1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.


Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 28, 1986.


Karen J. Haggett

Clerk of the Commission