FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Vorcelia Olpihant,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2005-003

State of Connecticut, Medical

Examining Board,

 
  Respondent July 27, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 9, 2005, at which time the complainant and the respondent 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 respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that on November 22, 2004, the respondent issued its Notice of Decision denying the complainant’s application for disability retirement (hereinafter “application”).

 

3.   It is found that by letter dated December 1, 2004, the complainant requested that the respondent provide her with the specific documents upon which the respondent relied in arriving at its decision to deny her application (hereinafter “requested records”).

 

4.  Having failed to receive a response, the complainant, by letter of complaint dated December 31, 2004, and filed on January 3, 2005, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying her a copy of the requested records.

 

5.  It is found that the respondent acknowledged at the hearing in this matter that it timely received the request, however, due to an internal office oversight no response was immediately sent to the complainant.

 

6.  It is found that the respondent became aware of the complainant’s request   after receiving the Commission’s February 23, 2005 letter indicating that the complainant had filed an FOI complaint in this matter.

 

7.    It is found that by letter dated March 2, 2005, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of the requested records.

 

8.  Believing that the records provided to her were incomplete, the complainant, by letter dated May 6, 2005, requested that the respondent provide her with the following regarding the denial of her application:

 

i)                    The summary plan description of the plan;

ii)                   The plan document for the plan;

iii)                 The entire claim file;

iv)                 All other documents relevant to the benefit, as defined by 29 C.F.R. 2560.503-1(m)(8);

v)                  The identity of medical or vocational experts whose advice was obtained on behalf of the plan, whether or not the advice was relied upon in making the decision;

vi)                 Any internal rule or protocol or similar criterion that was relied upon in denying benefits; and

vii)               An explanation of the scientific or clinical judgment for the benefit denial.

 

9.  In the May 6, 2005 letter of request the complainant indicated that she was still awaiting the information she requested in her December 1, 2004 request, as described in paragraph 3, above.

 

10.   It is found that by letter dated May 13, 2005, the respondent responded to the complainant’s May 6, 2005 request and provided the complainant with records that it had that are responsive to the request.  The respondent also indicated in the May 13, 2005 response that all information relative to the complainant’s December 1, 2004 request had been provided to her by letter dated March 2, 2005, as described in paragraph 7, above.

 

11.  The complainant still believes that she has not been provided with all of the requested records.

 

12.  It is found however, that the respondent has provided the complainant with all records upon which the respondent relied in denying her application and such records are responsive to the complainant’s December 1, 2004 request.

 

13.  It is also found that the records provided to the complainant, as described in paragraph 12, above, as well as the additional records provided to the complainant in response to her May 6, 2005 request, as described in paragraph 10, above, are the only records maintained by the respondent that are responsive to both the complainant’s December 1, 2004 and May 6, 2005, requests.

 

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

 

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.

 

15.  It is concluded that all of the records provided to the complainant are public records within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S.

 

16.  It is found that the complainant appears to be seeking an explanation of how the respondent arrived at its decision to deny her application.

 

17.  It is concluded that the FOI Act only obligates the respondent to provide the complainant with existing records that are responsive to the complainant’s request.  The FOI Act does not obligate the respondent to create records that do not already exist in order to respond to the complainant’s inquiries.

 

18.  It is also concluded that since the respondent provided the complainant with all records “maintained and kept on file”, within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S., the respondent complied with the complainant’s December and May requests.

 

19.  It is further concluded, however, that the respondent’s March 2, 2005 response and provision of the requested records to the complainant was not prompt, and therefore the respondent technically violated 1-210(a), G.S. 

No order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 27, 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:

 

Vorcelia Oliphant

130 Cherry Ann Street, #3

New Haven, CT 06514

 

State of Connecticut,

Medical Examining Board

c/o Karen McDonough, Esq.

State of Connecticut, Retirement and

Benefit Services Division,

Office of the State Comptroller

55 Elm Street

Hartford, CT 06106-1775

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2005-003FD/paj/8/1/2005