FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by

FINAL DECISION

William H. Daley and

The Hartford Courant,

 

 

Complainants

 

 

against

 

Docket #FIC 1999-044

Office of the City Attorney,

City of Middletown; and City of Middletown,

 

 

Respondents

June 9, 1999

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 22, 1999, at which time the complainants and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(a), G.S. [formerly 1-18a(1), G.S.].

 

2.     By letter dated January 13, 1999, the complainants requested access to inspect any and all records pertaining to the settlement of a lawsuit filed by James A. Milardo against the City of Middletown.

 

3.     By letter dated January 19, 1999, the respondents informed the complainant that the respondent office of the city attorney had received an objection to disclosure of the requested records from James A. Milardo and that pursuant to 1-214(c), G.S. [formerly 1-20a(c), G.S.], the complainants’ request was denied.

 

4.     By letter dated February 2, 1999 and filed with this Commission on February 4, 1999, the complainants appealed the respondents’ denial of their request for access to inspect the records described in paragraph 2, above.

 

5.     Section 1-210(a), G.S., [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part that: 

 

[e]xcept as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours . . . .

 

6.     It is found that the records described in paragraph 2, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.].

7.     At the hearing in this matter, the respondents argued that they determined that the subject records could potentially fall within the category of “personnel”, “medical” or “similar” files and that their disclosure might constitute an invasion of privacy.

 

8.     Section 1-210(b)(2), G.S. [formerly 1-19(b)(2), G.S.], provides that a public agency need not disclose “personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy . . . .”

 

9.     It is found that the subject records pertain to a lawsuit filed by Mr. Milardo against the respondent City of Middletown and the settlement agreement reached between the City’s insurance company and Mr. Milardo to resolve the matter.

10. It is also found that the subject records are maintained in the respondent office of the city attorney in that office’s insurance file and are not maintained in Mr. Milardo’s personnel file, medical file or any file similar to a personnel or medical file.

 

11. It is further found that the subject records do not constitute “personnel or medical files” or “similar files” within the meaning of 1-210(b)(2), G.S.

12. In addition, it is found that the respondents failed to prove that disclosure of the subject records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy within the meaning of 1-210(b)(2), G.S.

 

13. It is therefore concluded that the subject records are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(2), G.S. [formerly 1-19(b)(2), G.S.].

14. It is further concluded that the respondents violated 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a)], by failing to provide the complainants with access to inspect the records pertaining to the settlement as described in paragraph 2, above.

 

 

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

 

1.     The respondents shall forthwith provide the complainants with access to inspect any and all records pertaining to the settlement of the lawsuit filed by James A. Milardo against the City of Middletown, as described in paragraph 2 of the findings, above.

 

2.     Henceforth, the respondents shall strictly comply with the provisions 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly 1-19(a), G.S.].

 

 

 

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

June 9, 1999.

 

 

_________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

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:

 

 

William H. Daley and

The Hartford Courant

373 East Main Street

Middletown, CT  06457

 

Office of the City Attorney,

City of Middletown; and

City of Middletown

c/o Atty. Trina A. Solecki

City Attorney

245 deKoven Drive

Middletown, CT  06457-1300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

__________________________

Melanie R. Balfour

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC1999-044/mrb/06141999