FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Richard H. Kosinski,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-057

State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

Freedom of Information Office,

 
  Respondent September 22, 2004
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 3, 2004, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, the above-captioned case was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2003-462 Richard H. Kosinski v. Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Safety.

 

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 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      By letter dated December 29, 2003, to the respondent, the complainant made a request for certain records which included the emergency contact information of certain inmates. 

 

3.      By letter dated January 6, 2004, the respondent provided the complainant with the records he requested but redacted the emergency contact information that was included on the print-out of the RT 50 screen, which is the computer document that contains the requested records.

 

4.      By letter dated February 2, 2004 and filed on February 4, 2004, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to disclose the contact information.

 

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

 

Except 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 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., provides in relevant part that “any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.” 

 

7.      It is found that the printout of the RT 50 screen is a public record within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

8.      At the hearing on this matter, the respondent contended that the emergency contact information should not be disclosed as a matter of public policy because disclosure of the name, address and telephone number of the individual listed would constitute an invasion of the privacy of that individual.  The respondent contended that such individual might not be aware that an inmate has listed him or her as an emergency contact and there is no method by which to protect such individual from the disclosure of their personal information.  The respondent further contended that disclosing the contact information to the complainant in this case would require disclosure to any member of the public, including those who want the information for less tenable purposes than the complainant.

 

9.      It is found that there is no provision in the FOI Act that exempts the contact information from disclosure.  Although not specifically raised by the respondents, the FOI Act contains a provision that exempts from disclosure personnel, medical and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of privacy.  However that exemption does not apply to the records at issue in this case.

 

10.  It is found that the respondent claimed no other federal law or state statute that exempts the contact information from disclosure. 

 

11.  It is found that the respondent failed to prove that the contact information contained in the printout of the RT 50 screen is exempt from mandatory disclosure.

 

12.  It is concluded, therefore, that the respondent violated the disclosure provisions of 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by redacting the contact information from the printout of the RT 50 screen.

 

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

 

1.      Forthwith the respondent shall provide the complainant with an unredacted copy of the printout of the RT 50 screen of each of the inmates named in his December 29, 2003 request.

 

                                                                                   

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of September 22, 2004.

 

________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

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:

 

            Richard H. Kosinski

106 Farmington Avenue

Suite 2B

New Britain, CT 06053

 

State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

Freedom of Information Office

c/o Henri Alexandre, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

110 Sherman Street

Hartford, CT 06105

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

FIC/2004-057FD/paj/9/23/2004