FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Diane Reed Sanford Anjone,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 88-130

 

Mary Anne Guitar, First Selectman of the Town of Redding,

 

Respondent August 24, 1988

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on July 18, 1988, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

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

 

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

 

2. The complainant is the executrix of an estate which owns property in Redding, upon which property the complainant resides.

 

3. In a suit brought against the complainant, the Redding town sanitarian, Roy Bradshaw, sought to force the complainant to disconnect the septic system from her residence and refrain from using its plumbing and sanitary facilities.

 

4. The suit by the town sanitarian was dismissed on January 4, 1988.

 

5. During the pendency of the suit, Attorney Edwin C. Pearson, who represented the town sanitarian, sent a letter to Mr. Bradshaw advising him of his rights and responsibilities with respect to the complainant's septic system and inspection of the complainant's property.

 

6. On or about March 9, 1988 the complainant, through counsel, made a written request of the respondent to inspect the letter from Attorney Pearson to Mr. Bradshaw.

 

7. The respondent denied the complainant's request.

 

Docket #FIC 88-130 Page Two

 

8. By letter of complaint filed with the Commission on April 12, 1988 the complainant appealed the respondent's failure to provide access to inspect the requested letter. The complainant requested that the Commission impose a civil penalty against the respondent and award costs of the action.

 

9. At hearing, the respondent moved to quash a subpoena issued by the complainant's counsel, which motion was denied.

 

10. It is found that the letter from Attorney Pearson to the town sanitarian is a public record within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S.

 

11. The respondent claims that the letter from Attorney Pearson to the town sanitarian is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(10), G.S. as a communication privileged by the attorney-client relationship.

 

12. It is found that the respondent failed to prove that the letter in question constitutes or contains communications made in confidence and privileged by the attorney-client privilege.

 

13. It is concluded that the letter in question is not exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(10), G.S.

 

14. The respondent failed to prove that the letter in question is exempted from disclosure by any other provision of the Freedom of Information Act, other state statute or federal law.

 

15. It is, therefore, concluded that the respondent's failure to provide the complainant with access to inspect the letter in question violated 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

16. The Commission, however, declines to impose a civil penalty, as requested by the complainant.

 

17. The Commission notes that there is neither statutory nor regulatory authority for the awarding of costs of the proceeding, as requested by the complainant.

 

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

 

Docket #FIC 88-130 Page Three

 

1. The respondent forthwith shall provide the complainant with access to inspect the letter from Attorney Pearson to the town sanitarian, referred to in paragraph 5 of the findings, above.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of August 24, 1988.

 

Catherine H. Lynch

Acting Clerk of the Commission