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 1996-320

Thomas J. White, Commissioner, State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission,  

Respondent

April 23, 1997

The above-captioned matter was consolidated with Docket #1996-316 and Docket #1996-317 for hearing and disposition as a contested case. At the hearing on February 27, 1997, 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 Section 1-18a(a), G.S.

2. By letters dated July 25 and July 26, 1996, the complainant requested of the respondent copies of any memorandum from Jeff Bragg or Jesse Frankl concerning instructions to the staff not to speak to David Cummings and also of any memorandum in which Jesse Frankl transferred to himself the case of Cummings v. Commissioner Thomas J. White, Workers Compensation Commission (sometimes herein the "requested records").

3. By letters dated and filed with the Commission on August 1, 1996, the complainant appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by not responding to his requests for copies of the records specified in his letters of July 25 and July 26, 1996.

4. Section 1-19(a), G.S., states in pertinent part:

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….

5. It is found that the complainant’s file is extremely voluminous and that the respondent could have, as was testified, missed the requested records during the search that took place following the initial request.

6. It is also found that the respondent did not respond directly or promptly to the complainant concerning his requests of July 25 and July 26, 1996.

7. It is found that by letter dated August 12, 1996, the respondent encouraged the complainant to inspect his file on August 16, 1996, and that by letter dated October 21, 1996, the respondent informed the complainant that he could inspect his file at any time during office hours, provided that the complainant furnish the respondent with three days notice in writing.

8. It is found that the complainant has made numerous record requests of the complainant and has had the opportunity to inspect the entire file of respondent pertaining to him on many occasions, including but not limited to May 24, 1996, August 20, 1996, and February 10, 1997.

9. It is also found that the respondent furnished the requested records to the complainant on February 13 and 14, 1997.

10. It is concluded that the respondent did not provide complainant with the requested records promptly and therefore did technically violate the provisions of 1-19(a), G.S.

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

1. Henceforth, the respondent shall exercise a higher level of care in performing searches for requested public records and shall furnish requested, non-exempt public records promptly.

2. Although the complainant has requested the imposition of civil penalties, the Commission declines to impose such penalties in this case.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of April 23, 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

Thomas J. White, Commissioner, State of Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission
c/o Michael J. Giammatteo, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General, Dept. 13
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106

__________________________
Elizabeth A. Leifert
Acting Clerk of the Commission
FIC1996-320/FD/eal/04301997