FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Vorcelia Oliphant,  
  Complainants  
  against   Docket #FIC 2004-538

State of Connecticut, Commission

on Human Rights and Opportunities,

 
  Respondents September 14, 2005
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on June 15, 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, in 2004, the complainant filed a complaint with the respondent [hereinafter “CHRO complaint”] against the Department of Transportation and also filed an action in the United States District Court against such agency raising the same issues [hereinafter “the federal suit”].  

 

            3.  It is found that, by letter dated August 6, 2004, the respondent informed the complainant that, pursuant to its regulations, the respondent had suspended the CHRO complaint because of the complainant’s filing of the federal suit.  

 

4.  It is found that, by letter dated August 20, 2004, the complainant requested from the respondent any and all records regarding the federal suit, specifically any and all documents the respondent received regarding the federal suit, any and all documents showing from whom information was received concerning the federal suit, and any and all documents showing whose recommendation it was to suspend the complainant’s CHRO complaint.   

 

            5.  It is found that, under cover letter dated September 7, 2004, the respondent provided the complainant with a copy of all records which it keeps or maintains responsive to the request described in paragraph 4, above, and that such records constitute the entire file regarding the CHRO complaint.   

 

6.  It is found that, by letter dated October 25, 2004, the complainant acknowledged receipt of the records described in paragraph 5, above, but informed the respondent that such records did not pertain to the information she had requested.  It is also found that, by such letter, the complainant specifically requested that the respondent provide her with any and all documents the respondent received regarding the federal suit, any and all documents showing from whom information was received concerning the federal suit, any and all documents showing who recommended the suspension of the CHRO complaint, any and all documents showing the grounds for the suspension of the CHRO complaint, and any and all documents to support the legal grounds for the basis to suspend the CHRO complaint [hereinafter “the requested records”].  

 

7.   Having failed to receive a response to the letter described in paragraph 6, above, the complainant, by letter of complaint dated November 29, 2004, and filed on November 30, 2004, appealed to the Commission alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying her a copy of the requested records.

 

8.  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.

 

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

 

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

 

11.  It is found however, that the respondent has provided the complainant with all requested records that it maintains or keeps on file within the meaning of 1-210(a), G.S., and that, aside from the records provided to the complainant in September, no other requested records exist. 

 

12.  At the hearing in this matter, the complainant contended that the respondent did not identify each record provided to her as to how such record was responsive to her requests.  It is found that the complainant appears to be seeking an explanation of how the respondent arrived at its decision to suspend the CHRO complaint, who made such decision, and who informed the respondent about the federal suit.  

 

13.  It is concluded that the FOI Act does not require the respondent to answer questions or to create records in order to respond to the complainant’s inquiries.   Moreover, it is found that a reasonable reading of the records supplied to the complainant in September would provide her with answers to her questions.  

 

14.   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.  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 requests. 

 

15.  Based upon the facts and circumstances of this case, it is concluded that the respondent did not violate 1-210(a), G.S., as alleged in the complaint.   

       

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 September 14, 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, No. 3

New Haven, CT 06514

 

State of Connecticut, Commission

on Human Rights and Opportunities

c/o Raymond P. Pech, Esq.

Assistant Director

Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities

21 Grand Street, 4th floor

Hartford, CT 06106

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2004-538FD/paj/9/15/2005