FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Donald Kreutzer,  
  Complainants  
  against    Docket #FIC 2004-194

Director, FOI Office, State of Connecticut,

University of Connecticut Health Center,

 
  Respondent March 9, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on August 10, 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, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2004-221, Donald Kreutzer v. Director, FOI Office, State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut Health Center.

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 of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.      It is found that the University of Connecticut Health Center employs the complainant.

 

3.   It is found that, by memorandum dated April 8, 2004, the complainant made the following request of the respondent for records related to the appointment of Dr. Ulrike Klueh (errors in the text of the complainant’s request are not noted):

 

“First priority for FOIs

All emails and documents related to Dr.Ulrike Klueh and/or Dr. Rezaie or George Keech in the Department of Surgery including the Department of Surgery department heads office.

 

All emails and documents related to Dr. Ulrike Klueh , George Keech and/or Dr. Rezaie in the Medical School Deans offices, (including offices of the deans, associate deans and and assistant deans) as well as the EVPs office.

 

All emails and documents related to Dr. Klueh, George Keech and/or Dr. Rezaie sent between or among any of the following individual Dr. Kozol Dr. koeppen, Dr. Deckers, Mr. David Gillon, Dr. Berlin, Dr. Wetstone or anyone associated with the medical deans office, the well as the EVPs office, and/or UCHC human resources.

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to the faculty appointments of Mr. James Schaff (cell biology).  Ms. Mary Eberle (pediatrics), Dr. William Loftus (neuroscience), Dr. Alexander Pantschenko (Orthopedics), Dr. Shobhana Sivaramakrishnan (neuroscience)/

 

The annual departmental reports and C.V.s for Mr. Schaff, since his appointment as a faculty member in the school of Medicine.

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to the new paid faculty appointments at the level of instructor or assistant professor of for the year 2003 (see attached list A) and 2004 [No attachment A was offered in evidence at the hearing].

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to individuals that were submitted for faculty appointments at the level of instructor or assistant professor in the medical school in 2002-2004 but were rejected by the deans office or withdrawn by the dept. head.

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to the paid faculty appointments at the level of instructor or assistant professor of for the year 2002 (see attached list B) thru 2004 [No attachment B was offered in evidence at the hearing].

 

Second Level Priority for FIOs

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to the paid faculty appointments at the level of instructor or assistant professor of for current paid faculty (see list B)

 

The annual departmental reports and C.V.s for all paid faculty without doctoral level degrees, since their appointment as a faculty member in the school of Medicine.  (see list B)

 

Third Level Priority for FOIs

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to the non-paid faculty appointments at the level of instructor or assistant professor of for current non-paid faculty who do not have a doctoral levels degree (see list C pages 1-3)

 

Forth Level Priority for FOIs

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to the non-paid faculty appointments at the level of instructor or assistant professor of for current non-paid faculty who have a Ph D. (see list C pages 3-5).

 

Fifth Level Priority for FOIs

 

All documents and emails in the deans and appropriate dept. offices related to the non-paid faculty appointments at the level of instructor or assistant professor of for current non-paid faculty who have a doctoral degree (see list C pages 5-39).

 

I would be happy to discuss this FOI with you at anytime.  Also please contact me to review any part of the material requested under this FI as it becomes available.”

 

 

            4.  By letter dated April 21, 2004, the complainant filed his complaint.  The complainant alleged that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying him access to the requested documents.

 

            5.  It is found that, by May 6, 2004 letter to the complainant, the respondent acknowledged the request described in paragraph 3, above.  It is also found that, by such letter, the respondent asked the complainant whether he wished to inspect the records or whether he wished to receive copies of the requested records at 25 cents per page.  The respondent stated that it would presume the former unless he was informed otherwise.  It is further found that regarding the request for records, the respondent stated:

 

1.      The annual departmental reports and C.V.s for Mr. Schaff and the annual departmental reports and C.V.s for all paid faculty without doctoral level degrees in the School of Medicine are maintained in the Dean’s Office of the school.  Please contact Ms. Lynn Donatelli at 670-2413 to arrange a time to review these documents.

 

2.      All other items in your request required UCHC staff to exercise discretion in determining if such documents meet the criteria described in your request.  Each of your requested items ask for documents meet the criteria described in your request.  Each of your requested items ask for documents “related to” some topic.  This constitutes ‘research’ as described by the FOI act and therefore UCHC will not be providing them.  If you can revise your request and identify specific documents to which you would like access, we would be more than happy to make them available for your inspection or copying.

 

6.  It is found that requesting records “related to” a topic does not constitute research per se.  However, it is further found that the complainant refused an invitation by the respondent to meet for the purpose of clarifying any issues and to reach a mutually agreeable list of documents that the complainant was seeking.  It is also found that the complainant reviewed a number of documents at the respondent’s office.  At the time he reviewed the documents, he requested and was given access to additional documents.

 

7.  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…. 

 

8.      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….

 

9.  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.

 

10.  It is found that, in the past, the complainant has made similar requests for voluminous records from the respondent and, on at least one such occasion, the complainant did not follow up on such a request after the respondent spent considerable time and resources compiling records for him.

 

11.  It is found that at all times pertinent to this matter the respondent has 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 respondent in a timely manner.  It is found that, at the time of the hearing in this matter, the respondent had provided the complainant with access to thousands of documents, many of them in electronic form, and was continuing to assemble records for his inspection in a timely manner. 

 

12.  Based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it is found that the respondent did not fail to comply with the request described in paragraph 3, above, as alleged in the complaint.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent 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 March 9, 2005.

 

________________________________

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:

 

Donald Kreutzer, Director,

Center for Molecular Tissue Engineering,

University of Connecticut School of Medicine

263 Farmington Avenue

Farmington, CT 06032-3105

 

Director, FOI Office, State of Connecticut,

University of Connecticut Health Center

c/o William N. Kleinman, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

University of Connecticut Health Center

263 Farmington Avenue

Farmington, CT 06030-3803 

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-194FD/paj/3/10/2005