FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

David W. Cummings,  

Complainant

 

against

Docket #FIC 1996-315

Christopher Burnham, Treasurer, State of Connecticut,  

Respondent

April 9, 1997

The above-captioned matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 1996-314 for hearing and disposition as a contested case. At the hearing on February 27, 1997, the complainant and the respondent appeared 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 Section 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letters dated March 19, 1996, the complainant requested to inspect the records of the respondent pertaining to Rachael Bolsinger and Sharon Paulo, including particularly all records to support payments to The Supported Living Center at Chelsea (the "records").

3. By letters dated March 26 and March 29, 1996, the respondents provided certain limited information and records, but asserted that the balance of the records were exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

4. By letters dated August 5, 1996, the complainant renewed his request to inspect all the records.

5. By letters dated August 15, 1996, and filed with the Commission on August 15 and August 19, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying his request with reference to most of the records.

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

7. The respondent contends that the requested records are extraordinarily intertwined with medical records which are exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-19(b)(2), G.S.

8. Section 1-19(b)(2), G.S., permits the nondisclosure of "personnel or medical and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy."

9. Perkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, 228 Conn. 158 (1993), sets forth the standard for the exemption contained in 1-19(b)(2), G.S. In this regard, the respondent has a twofold burden of proof: first, the respondent must establish that the files in question are within the categories of files protected by the exemption, that is, personnel, medical or similar files; and second, the respondent must show that disclosure of the records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.

10. It is found that most of the requested records constitute "medical files", within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S., and that the remaining records are so inextricably intertwined with such medical files as to constitute medical files themselves.

11. The Court in the Perkins case further instructs that the invasion of personal privacy portion of the 1-19(b)(2), G.S., exemption precludes disclosure only when the information sought: first, does not pertain to a legitimate matter of public concern; and second, is highly offensive to a reasonable person.

13. Upon the facts of this case, it is found that the disclosure of the requested records would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and that such information does not pertain to a legitimate matter of public concern.

14. It is therefore concluded that disclosure of the requested medical records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy, within the meaning of 1-19(b)(2), G.S., and accordingly, the records requested need not be disclosed.

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

1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 9, 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
Broad Brook, CT 06016

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

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-315/FD/eal/04221997