OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
In the Matter of a Complaint by
|Docket #FIC 2003-243|
Director, Health Affairs Policy
Planning, State of Connecticut,
University of Connecticut Health
Center; and State of Connecticut,
University of Connecticut Health
|Respondents||June 23, 2004|
The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on March 23, 2004, at which time the complainant and the respondents 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
2. It is found that the respondent University of Connecticut Health Center employs the complainant.
3. It is found that, by letter dated June 6, 2003, the complainant made the following request of the respondents for records related to his space appeal for a 5 year “window”:
“all documents (written or electronic e.g. e-mails) related to all research space, funding, and or activities involving employees or representatives/agents of the University of Connecticut Health Center System (includes on main campus (Farmington) and off campus) and or Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC) employees or agents/representatives undertaking research activities with UCHC employees, resources or space. This requests [sic] includes, but are not limited to:
UCHC Research Space Policy
All documents related to the UCHC space policy, its implementation, results, analysis, etc.
Research Funding Data
All documents related to grant/research funding data, summaries, etc. for UHCH Faculty.
All documents related to CCMC employees undertaking research at UCHC or involving UCHC employees.
Research Space Data
All documents related to space surveys, reports, summaries, consulting reports, or other space data prepared by or for UCHC.
All documents related to formulas used to determine space utilization and their results.
All documents related to people who have requested, gain, lost or moved from their research space and all related documents.
Research Space grievances
All documents related space grievances as well as associated documents and decisions.
All documents related to appeals related to space changes as well as associated documents and decisions.
Requests for change or reassignments of research space
All documents related to requests for research space changes or reassignments and their results.
All documents related to research space evaluation and or reassignments in the Depts. Of Anatomy, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Pathology.
All documents related to commitments for research space in the past, present or future on the first floor of the L building.
Reorganization of the Basic Science Departments
All documents related to the reorganization of the basic science departments, including those related to research space.
All documents (written or electronic e.g. e-mails) related to all research space related to the Departments of Pathology and Surgery, as well as any individual currently located on the first floor of the L building (e.g. GCRC labs, Clinical Trials Office, Sarfarazi, Das, Malchoff, Gronowic and all members of the Department of Pathology).
All documents related to past present or future research space, funding or research activities involving or referring to Dr. Ferd Ferrer.
All documents (written or electronic e.g. e-mails) related to LCME accreditation in the area of space/basic science reorganization.”
4. It is found that, by June 10, 2003 letter to the complainant, the respondents acknowledged the request described in paragraph 3, above, and informed the complainant that such request was very broad in nature. It is also found that, by such letter, the respondents asked whether the complainant wished to receive copies of the requested records at 25 cents per page, or whether he wished to inspect the records. It is further found that, by such letter, the respondents also informed the complainant that it would take a considerable amount of time to compile the requested records and asked that the complainant contact the office of the respondent director to schedule a time to meet to discuss a schedule for the provision of the requested records, and to discuss which records should be prioritized for use in the complainant’s space appeal.
5. Rather than respond to the letter described in paragraph 4, above, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the request described in paragraph 3, above, by complaint dated July 1, 2003, and filed on July 2, 2003.
6. Section 1-210(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 (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212….
7. Section 1-212, G.S., provides in relevant part that
(a)“[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record. The fee for any copy provided in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act:
(1) By an executive, administrative or legislative office of the state, a state agency or a department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official of the state, including a committee of, or created by, such an office, agency, department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official, and also including any judicial office, official or body or committee thereof but only in respect to its or their administrative functions, shall not exceed twenty-five cents per page…
(c) A public agency may require the prepayment of any fee required or permitted under the Freedom of Information Act if such fee is estimated to be ten dollars or more.”
8. It is found that the requested records, to the extent such records exist, are public records within the meaning of §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S. It is further found that the requested records number in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of pages of documents.
9. It is found that, in the past, the complainant has made similar requests for voluminous records from the respondents and, on at least one such occasion, the complainant did not follow up on such a request after the respondents spent considerable time and resources compiling records for him. It is also found that the respondents were within their rights to await word from the complainant as to whether he wished copies of the requested records described in paragraph 3, above, since the respondents could have assessed a copying fee before complying with such request, pursuant to §1-212(c), G.S.
10. It is found that the complainant did not further contact the respondent regarding the request described in paragraph 3, above, and the respondents’ reply, as described in paragraph 4, above, until November 10, 2003.
11. It is found that, by letter dated November 11, 2003, the respondents informed the complainant that they would be happy to meet with him to develop a schedule and methodology of processing the complainant’s request. It is further found that such meeting took place on November 13, 2003.
12. It is found that, by letter dated November 14, 2003, the respondents set forth their understanding of status of the complainant’s request after the meeting described in paragraph 11, above. It is further found that the complainant responded to such letter on December 24, 2003.
13. It is found that at all times pertinent to this matter the respondents have been ready and willing to comply with the request described in paragraph 3, above, and that any delay in compliance has resulted from the complainant’s failure to communicate with the respondents in a timely manner. It is found that, at the time of the hearing in this matter, the respondents had provided access to many requested records to the complainant and were continuing to assemble records for his inspection in a timely manner.
14. Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is found that the respondents did not fail to comply with the request described in paragraph 3, above, as alleged in the complaint. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate §§1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., in this matter.
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 June 23, 2004.
Ann B. Gimmartino
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:
14 Highwood Drive
Avon, CT 06001
Director, Health Affairs Policy Planning,
State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut
Health Center; and State of Connecticut,
University of Connecticut Health Center
c/o William N. Kleinman, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Univesity of Connecticut Health Center
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-3803
Ann B. Gimmartino
Acting Clerk of the Commission