FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

FINAL DECISION
Docket #FIC 1996-118
February 13, 1997
In the Matter of a Complaint by David W. Cummings, Complainant(s)
against
Christopher Burnham, State Treasurer, State of Connecticut, Office of the Treasurer, Respondent(s)

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on December 9, 1996, at which time the complainant appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint, but the respondent failed to appear. At the hearing the complainant requested that Commissioner Berman recuse herself as the hearing officer in this case; his request was denied.

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. It is found that by letter to the respondent dated March 11, 1996 ("records request"), the complainant requested access to "all original records pertaining to [the] James R. Tyler file #122743 [hereinafter, "Tyler file"]."

3. It is found that by letter to the complainant dated March 14, 1996, the respondent’s counsel acknowledged receipt of the complainant’s records request and advised him that he was awaiting receipt of the Tyler file so that he determine what if anything could be disclosed to the complainant.

4. It is found that by letter to the complainant dated March 21, 1996, the respondent’s counsel advised the complainant that there was no such numbered Tyler file in the respondent’s possession, but such a file might be in the possession of the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s First District Office. Additionally, the complainant was asked to "please review the information in his possession to confirm the number of the file from which [he is] seeking information" in order to facilitate the search for the requested records.

5. It is found that by letter to the complainant dated April 1, 1996, the respondent’s counsel advised the complainant that although the respondent was still trying to locate the Tyler file, in the meantime he had received an objection to the release of all personnel and workers’ compensation information to the complainant from James R. Tyler, and accordingly, the complainant’s request for the Tyler file was denied.

6. Mr. Tyler did not appear at the hearing on this matter.

7. By letter of complaint dated April 9, 1996 and filed with the Commission on April 10, 1996, the complainant appealed the respondent’s failure to comply with his records request, and requested the imposition of a civil penalty against the respondent.

8. It is found that the subject records are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d) and 1-19(a), G.S.

9. At the hearing on this matter the complainant requested that the Commission take administrative notice of the records and final decisions in Docket #FIC 94-25 and Docket #FIC 93-224, each case captioned: David Cummings against Second Injury Fund, State of Connecticut, Office of the State Treasurer.

10. It is found that after filing his complaint with this Commission, the complainant obtained a copy of a portion of the Tyler file, which included cancelled checks, a settlement agreement, general release and covenant not to sue, from the State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission.

11. In light of the finding in paragraph 10 of the findings, above, it is concluded that with the exception of all medical information concerning Mr. Tyler, the respondent’s failure to provide the complainant with a copy of the Tyler file—if his agency has such a file—constitutes a violation of 1-15(a) and 1-19(a), G.S.,

12. The Commission declines to impose a civil penalty against the respondent at this time.

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

Within thirty days of the date of notice of mailing the final decision in this case, the respondent shall provide the complainant with either: a) a copy of the Tyler file, excluding all medical information contained therein, free of charge; or b) an affidavit indicating that a diligent search has been performed and no such file exists in the records of his agency.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of February 13, 1997.

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission

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:

David W. Cummings
PO Box 166
Broadbrook, CT 06016

Christopher Burnham, State Treasurer, State of Connecticut, Office of the Treasurer,
c/o Michael J. Giammatteo, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-118/FD/eal/02211997