FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
against Docket #FIC 94-68
Chairman, State of Connecticut Workers Compensation Commission,
Respondent February 8, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 2, August 15, and August 29, 1994, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. At the hearing, the respondent moved to quash the complainant's subpoena of workers compensation commissioners James Metro and Roberta Doyen, which the hearing officer declined to do.
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 March 2, 1994, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that he received no records or information in response to his February 3, 1994 request to the respondent.
3. It is found that the complainant by letter dated February 3, 1994 requested from the respondent copies of the following records:
a. a copy of a certain exhibit marked for identification at a workers compensation hearing;
b. a copy of anything in writing addressed to the workers compensation commission from the complainant requesting payments to be made under 31-301b, G.S.;
c. the date, location and notice of any 31-301b, G.S., hearing;
d. all written correspondence and memos from anyone addressed to the respondent regarding the complainant;
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e. all written correspondence and memos from the respondent and his office concerning the complainant;
f. a letter or memo sent from the respondent's office to workers compensation commissioner Metro in response to Metro's September 27, 1993 letter to the respondent;
g. copies of any complaints, including criminal complaints, made by any workers compensation commission employees, including commissioners, including but not limited to a criminal complaint filed by commissioner Roberta Doyen;
h. a listing of the names and job titles of all current and former workers compensation employees;
i. a copy of the audiotape and transcript of a January 4, 1993 8:30 hearing before commissioner Denuzze;
j. a copy of the audiotape and transcript of an April 11, 1988 9:00 hearing before commissioner Spain;
k. a copy of the audiotape and transcript of a June 15, 1988 10:00 hearing before commissioner Spain;
l. a copy of the audiotape and transcript of a September 8, 1989 10:00 hearing before commissioner Metro;
m. a copy of the audiotape and transcript of an October 29, 1993 hearing before the compensation review board;
n. a copy of the audiotape and transcript of a December 14, 1990 hearing before the compensation review division;
o. a copy of the audiotape and transcript of a September 22, 1989 hearing before commissioner James Metro in Waterbury;
p. a copy of the audiotape of formal hearings before commissioner James Metro on December 11, 1989, December 26, 1989, January 8, 1990 and January 29, 1990; and
q. the policy or statute regarding exhibits entered into the record at formal hearings.
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4. It is found that the requested records, except for those not in the custody or control of the respondent as found below, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.
5. It is found that the respondent by letter dated February 14, 1994 informed the complainant that he was reviewing the request and attempting to identify the specific documents sought, as well as their availability.
6. It is also found that the respondent by memorandum dated February 25, 1994 directed personnel at the Hartford, New Britain and Hamden workers compensation offices to search for the records requested by the complainant.
7. It is found that the respondent by letter dated March 3, 1994 provided a copy of the record identified in paragraph 3.h, above (the list of names and job titles of all workers compensation employees), indicated that he was still trying to determine the availability of the other records requested, and explained that the complainant's request for the policy or statutes regarding exhibits entered on the record was too broad to answer meaningfully, but that he was enclosing a copy of the statutes and regulations governing the Workers Compensation Act.
8. It is found that the record described in paragraph 3.a, above (an exhibit marked for identification at a workers compensation hearing) was taken from the hearing by the assistant attorney general whose working file it was, and that the record is not in the custody or control of the respondent.
9. It is found that the respondent is unable to locate any records responsive to the request described in paragraph 3.b., above, the complainant himself having testified that he made no such request for payments.
10. It is found that the respondent is also unable to locate any records responsive to the request described in paragraph 3.c., above, the respondent's evidence having shown that there was no such hearing.
11. It is found that the respondent provided records responsive to the requests described in paragraphs 3.d and 3.e, above, although the complainant maintains that what was provided is incomplete.
12. It is found, however, that the requests described in paragraphs 3.d and 3.e, above, require research that is not mandated by the Freedom of Information ("FOI") Act.
13. It is found that the respondent provided all the records that are responsive to the request described in paragraph 3.f, above.
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14. With respect to the request described in paragraph 3.g, above, it is found that a criminal complaint was made against the complainant by workers compensation commissioner Doyen (a copy of which the complainant has), but that the respondent has no copy of that complaint, or of any other complaints by workers compensation employees, including commissioners, against the complainant.
15. It is found that the respondent complied with the request described in paragraph 3.h, above.
16. It is found that hearings described in paragraphs 3.i and 3.p, above, were recorded by an outside reporting service, and that the respondent does not have in his custody or control a copy of those tapes.
17. It is found that the complainant received tapes, but not transcripts, of the hearings described in paragraphs 3.j, 3.l, 3.m, and 3.n, above.
18. It is also found that the complainant was advised of the cost of providing transcripts of the hearings described in paragraph 3.j, 3.l, 3.m, and 3.n, above, and the complainant did not prepay those amounts, which exceed $10.00 for each transcript.
19. Although the complainant maintains that the tape he received of the hearing described in paragraph 3.j, above, is incomplete, it is found that the copy provided was a copy of the only tape in the possession of the respondent, whether or not the respondent's tape is complete or incomplete.
20. It is found that the hearing described in paragraph 3.k, above, was an informal hearing and was not tape recorded.
21. It is found that the respondent is unable to find any records of any hearing such as described in paragraph 3.o, above.
22. It is found that the complainant previously made a request for the tapes and transcripts of the hearings described in paragraph 3.p, above, and has already received the transcripts, although the tapes had been copied at the wrong speed.
23. It is found that the respondent reasonably responded to the request described in paragraph 3.q, above, by providing the statutes and regulations governing the workers compensation commission, and that any further response would require research.
24. It is found that the only records within the respondent's custody or control and not provided to the complainant which do not require research to locate--if they exist at all--are transcripts of the hearings described in
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paragraphs 3.j, 3.l, 3.m, and 3.n, above, which the respondent may require the complainant to pay for in advance pursuant to 1-15, G.S.
25. It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate any provisions of the FOI Act.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The complaint is dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 8, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
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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:
100 Boatswains Way #504
Chelsea, MA 02150
CHAIRMAN, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION
c/o Michael J. Giammatteo, Esq.
Edward F. Osswalt, Esq.
Brewster Blackall, Esq.
Assistant Attorneys' General
55 Elm Street
P.O. Box 120
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission