FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by Final Decision

 

Gordon F. LaGrow,

 

Complainant

 

against Docket #FIC 91-170

 

State of Connecticut, Commission on Human Rightsand Opportunities,

 

Respondent February 19, 1992

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 13, 1991, 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 and conclusions of law are reached:

 

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

 

2. By letter of complaint filed June 27, 1991, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that his request for copies of his file had been denied.

 

3. It is found that the complainant was a petitioner before the respondent.

 

4. It is found that the respondent investigated the petitioner's case, found reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory practice had been committed, attempted conciliation between the parties, conducted hearings on the petition as a result of which the petitioner prevailed, and ultimately brought an enforcement action in Superior Court.

 

5. It is found that the respondent created or received records concerning the petitioner's case, including records associated with investigation and conciliation phases of the case, and records associated with the hearing of the case and the subsequent enforcement action.

 

6. It is concluded that the records described in paragraph 5, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

Docket #FIC 91-170 Page 2

 

7. It is found that, by letter dated June 1, 1991, the complainant requested copies of the following records relating to his case file:

 

a. all interdepartment memoranda;

 

b. all interagency memoranda;

 

c. all transcripts of his hearings;

 

d. all interrogatories;

 

e. all data relating to his file; and

 

f. a complete listing of all people who have access to his file.

 

8. It is found that the respondent has no record responsive to the request described in paragraph 7(f), above.

 

9. It is found that the respondent, shortly before the hearing on this matter, provided to the complainant copies of all of the existing records it could find that were responsive to his request, except for the records described in paragraph 10, below, and records pertaining to the respondent's investigation and attempts at conciliation of the claim of discrimination.

 

10. It is also found that the respondent, at the hearing on this matter, promised to provide copies of certain interagency memoranda between the respondent and the office of the Attorney General, certain intra-agency memoranda pertaining to the hearing phase of the complainant's discrimination petition, and a certain letter to the state Ethics Commission.

 

11. It is concluded that the records provided and promised to be provided to the complainant were not provided promptly, in violation of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

12. It is found that the records not provided or promised to be provided to the complainant consist of two interrogatories and another intra-agency memoranda, all pertaining to the investigation or attempts at conciliation of the complainant's discrimination petition.

 

13. The respondent maintains that intra-agency memoranda are not within the scope of the complainant's request as described in paragraphs 7(a) and 7(b), above.

 

14. It is concluded, however, that intra-agency memoranda are within the scope of the complainant's request as described in paragraph 7(e), above.

 

Docket #FIC 91-170 Page 3

 

15. The respondent maintains that the records described in paragraph 12, above, are exempt from disclosure by virtue of 46a-83(b), G.S., as in effect prior to January 1, 1990.

 

16. Section 46a-83(b), G.S., as in effect prior to January 1, 1990 provides:

 

No commissioner or investigator may disclose what has occurred in the course of such endeavors [to eliminate the practice complained of by conference, conciliation and persuasion] provided the commission may publish the facts in the case and any complaint which has been dismissed and the terms of conciliation when a complaint has been adjusted.

 

17. Section 4 of Public Act 89-332 amended 46a-83(b), G.S., and recodified it as 46a-83(e), which provides:

 

No commissioner or investigator may disclose, except to the parties or their representatives, what has occurred in the course of such endeavors provided the commission may publish the facts in the case and any complaint which has been dismissed and the terms of conciliation when a complaint has been adjusted. Each party and his representative shall have the right to inspect and copy documents, statements of witnesses and other evidence pertaining to his complaint, except as otherwise provided by federal law or any other provision of the general statutes.

 

18. Section 4 of P.A. 89-332 took effect January 1, 1990.

 

19. In addition, 46a-82a, G.S., (P.A. 89-332 6) provides:

 

Any complaint filed pursuant to section 46a-82 and pending on January 1, 1990, shall be resolved not later than July 1, 1992 pursuant to sections 46a-82 to 46a-96, inclusive, of the general statutes, revision of 1958, revised to January 1, 1989.

 

20. It is found that the complainant's petition to the respondent was adjudicated on the issue of liability on June 27, 1989, and adjudicated on the issue of damages on September 6, 1989.

 

21. It is therefore found that the complainant's petition was not pending before the respondent on January 1, 1990.

 

22. It is concluded that 46a-83(b), G.S., as in effect prior to January 1, 1990 governs this case, and prohibits disclosure of the records described in paragraph 12, above.

 

Docket #FIC 91-170 Page 4

 

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

 

1. If it has not already done so, the respondent shall forthwith provide to the complainant copies of the records promised to be provided in paragraph 10 of the findings, above.

 

2. With respect to the allegations concerning disclosure of the records described in paragraphs 7(f) and 12 of the findings, above, the complaint is dismissed.

 

3. With respect to the remaining allegations of the complaint, the respondent shall henceforth strictly comply with the promptness provisions of 1-15 and 1-19(a), G.S.

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its special meeting of February 19, 1992.

 

 

Debra L. Rembowski

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

Docket #FIC 91-170 Page 5

 

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.

 

THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:

Gordon F. LaGrow

c/o Atty. Joyce Antica Phipps

P.O. Box 672

Durham, CT 06422

 

State of Connecticut, Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities

c/o Attorney Philip A. Murphy, Jr.

Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities

90 Washington Street

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

Debra L. Rembowski

Acting Clerk of the Commission