OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
Eddi Z. Zyko,
Docket #FIC 2000-318
Administrator, Liquor Control
September 13, 2000
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case July 19, 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),
2. It is found that on June 19,
2000, the complainant visited the offices of the respondent commission and at
that time requested to inspect the file of an applicant/permittee.
3. It is found that the clerk to
whom the complainant spoke asked him to complete a “File Information Request”
form (hereinafter “form”), which form requests information including, the
date of the request, permittee, permit number, address of permittee,
information requested, reason for request, name, agency and address of person
making request. The complainant
refused to complete the form and left without being provided with any records.
The complainant then, by letter dated June 21, 2000 and filed on June
22, 2000, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondents violated
the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by
denying him access to the complete file of an applicant/permittee.
5. Section 1-210(a), G.S.,
as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, 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 or to receive a copy of such records…
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. It is concluded that pursuant
to §1-210(a), G.S., the respondents cannot require that the complainant
complete the form as a precondition to providing him access to inspect
7. It is found in this case that
the complainant never identified, even verbally, what file or information he
was seeking to obtain. He
contends that before he could indicate what file he wanted, he was required to
first complete the form. The
respondents on the other hand, contend that they were trying to identify what
file/information the complainant wanted, in an attempt to locate the file and
provide it to him after reviewing it for possible exempt information. They further contend that had the complainant verbally
indicated what he wanted, they would not have required him to complete the
form, and then could have located the file and provided it to him.
8. It is found that the respondents maintain in excess of 7,000 files and such files are kept in different locations, and also filed according to an internal numbering system. It is found that at a minimum, the complainant should have told the respondents what record or file he was seeking, even if he refused to complete the form. If the complainant had told the respondents what he wanted, and then the respondents insisted that he complete the form, as a precondition to providing him with access to inspect records, then the respondents would have violated §1-210(a), G.S. It is also noted that the respondents could have asked the complainant what records he wanted when they realized he did not want to complete the form, in an attempt to be helpful in providing him with what he sought.
However, it is concluded that under the specific facts and
circumstances of this case, where no information was given by the complainant
to the respondents so they could identify what record he wanted to inspect, no
records request was made within the meaning of §1-210(a), G.S., and
therefore, no denial occurred. The
respondents therefore, did not violate §1-210(a), G.S. as alleged in the
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.
2. The Commission notes that any
attempt by the respondents to limit or restrict the public’s right to
inspect records on the basis that the form must be completed, and that
a reason for a request must be given, as a precondition to providing access to
records, would constitute “a rule or regulation” that “diminishes or
curtails” the disclosure rights guaranteed by §1-210(a), G.S., and would
therefore, be void within the meaning of such provision.
3. The Commission further notes
that a requestor is entitled to prompt access, subject to an agency’s right
to review its records and redact information exempt pursuant to federal law or
4. The Commission has
historically declined to order social security numbers disclosed.
See e.g. contested case docket #FIC 89-76, Eric Garrison v.
Supervisor, Unclaimed Property Division, State of Connecticut, Office of the
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 13, 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:
Eddi Z. Zyko
120 Fenn Road
Middlebury, CT 06762-2515
Gerald Langlois, Administrator, Liquor Control Commission, State of Connecticut, Department of Consumer Protection, Liquor Division; Liquor Control Commission, State of Connecticut, Department of Consumer Protection, Liquor
Division; and State of Connecticut, Department of Consumer Protection
c/o Atty. Anna Ficeto
Department of Consumer Protection
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Melanie R. Balfour
Acting Clerk of the Commission