FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Ethan Book, Jr.,
against Docket #FIC 94-267
Respondent February 8, 1995
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 10, 1994, 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 dated July 23, 1994, the complainant requested from the respondent's records clerk a copy of the entire file for a case identified as Case No. 94-11163, "including copies of any complaint(s), police report(s), notes of conversations, telephone messages, etc."
3. By letter of complaint dated August 5, 1994 and filed August 8, 1994, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent failed to comply with his request for records.
4. It is concluded that the requested records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(b), G.S.
5. It is found that the requested file, as more specifically described in paragraph 2, above, pertains to the respondent's investigation of a harassment complaint against the complainant by a former co-employee.
6. It is found that in response to the complainant's request, the respondent's records clerk sent to the complainant on August 4, 1994 a copy of an incident report and a supplementary report pertaining to Case No. 94-11163.
Docket #FIC 94-267 Page 2
7. It is further found that by letter to the respondent's records clerk dated August 8, 1994 the complainant informed the respondent that he believed the respondent had not fully complied with his request.
8. It is found that on the date of the hearing in this matter, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of a letter, not previously provided to the complainant, from the former co-worker's employer to the respondent's investigating officer. The respondent maintained that the letter was not provided to the complainant earlier because the investigating officer failed to place it in the file when he received it and it was not in the file at the time the records clerk responded to the complainant's request.
9. It is further found that the respondent did not provide the complainant with copies of letters in the file that were sent by the complainant either to the employee referred to in paragraph 5, above, or to the respondent, believing that the complainant had copies of his own letters.
10. Having provided the complainant with the records described in paragraph 5, above, and the additional letter described in paragraph 7, above, the respondent maintains that it has fully complied with the complainant's request.
11. In material part, 1-19(a), G.S., provides:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency . . . shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours or to receive a copy of such records in accordance with the provisions of section 1-15.
12. In material part, 1-15(a), G.S., provides:
Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.
13. It is found that the respondent failed to provide the complainant with copies of all of the records contained in the requested file in a prompt manner.
14. It is therefore concluded that under the facts of this case, the respondent violated the provisions of 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.
Docket #FIC 94-267 Page 3
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
1. The respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with copies of any letters in the requested file that were sent by the complainant to either his former co-employee or to the respondent, as more specifically described to in paragraph 9, of the findings, above.
2. Henceforth, the respondent shall strictly comply with the requirements of 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 8, 1995.
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission
Docket #FIC 94-267 Page 4
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:
ETHAN BOOK, JR.
P.O. Box 1385
Fairfield, CT 06430
MIDDLETOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT
c/o Timothy Lynch, Esq.
Middletown City Attorney's Office
245 DeKoven Drive
P.O. Box 1300
Middletown, CT 06457-1300
Debra L. Rembowski
Clerk of the Commission