OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Robert C. Hunt, Jr.,
Docket #FIC 1999-568
Farrelly, Superintendent of Vital
June 14, 2000
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested
case on March 15, 2000, at which time the complainant 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(1),
G.S. [formerly §1-18a(1),
By letter dated October 26, 1999, the complainant, through his attorney, made
a request for certain documents to the respondent superintendent and by letter
dated October 29, 1999, to the complainant’s attorney, the respondent
Freedom of Information officer (hereinafter “respondent officer”) informed
the complainant’s attorney that Mr. Hunt’s request required a legal
interpretation and that “all documents related to the Hunt request” have
been forwarded to the agency’s legal counsel.
By letter dated November 4, 1999, the complainant made a request for a copy of
certain documents, which included all of the documents, which were forwarded
to the agency’s legal counsel as mentioned in the respondent officer’s
October 29, 1999 letter.
By letter dated December 2, 1999 and filed on December 3, 1999, the
complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated
the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to respond to his
November 4, 1999 request. The
complainant requested the imposition of civil penalties.
5. Section 1-210(a), G.S. [formerly §1-19(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part that:
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 receive a copy of such records
in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212.
Any agency rule or regulation, or part thereof, that conflicts with the
provisions of this subsection or diminishes or curtails in any way the rights
granted by this subsection shall be void.
6. Section 1-212(a), G.S. [formerly §1-15(a), G.S.], provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record . . . .”
It is found that the
requested records, to the extent that they exist, are public records within
the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S. [formerly §1-15(a), G.S.].
It is found that the
respondents received the complainant’s November 4, 1999 request and failed
to directly address that request in their subsequent correspondence to the
It is further found
that the only records pertaining to the “Hunt request,” as referenced in
the respondent officer’s October 26, 1999 letter, are the complainant’s
request letter and the records the respondent officer believed would be
responsive to the complainant’s request, which records were provided to the
It is found that by
failing to directly address the complainant’s November 4, 1999 letter, the
respondents perpetuated an already confused situation regarding what records
existed and what records had been provided to the complainant.
It is concluded that
the respondents violated the provisions of §1-210(a), G.S., [formerly
§1-19(a), G.S.], by failing to respond to complainant’s November 4, 1999
request for the imposition of a civil penalty is denied.
the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint, no order is
recommended by the Commission.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of
June 14, 2000.
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:
Robert C. Hunt, Jr.
c/o Atty. James A. Budinetz
Pepe & Hazard LLP
225 Asylum Street
Hartford, CT 06130-4302
Farrelly, Superintendent of Vital Records, State of Connecticut, Department of
Public Health; State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records; Kevin Sullivan, Freedom of Information Officer, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health; and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health
c/o Atty. Henry A. Salton
and Atty. Richard J. Lynch
Assistant Attorneys General
55 Elm Street, PO Box 120
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Melanie R. Balfour