FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
George Brey,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2007-051

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction,

 
  Respondent December 12, 2007
       

            

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 14, 2007, at which time the complainant and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  The respondent submitted the record described in paragraph 5 of the findings, below, for an in camera inspection.

 

            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.  By letter of complaint filed January 24, 2007, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondent violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by denying his January 6, 2007 request for public records.

 

3.  It is found that the complainant by letter dated January 6, 2007 requested copies of records concerning the Lost Portfolio Transaction (the “LPT”), and records concerning his own workers compensation information.  Specifically, the records requested by the complainant consisted of:

 

a.       Copies of any communications between the Department of Correction (“DOC”) and DAS that involve the LPT;

b.      Copies of any communications between DOC and the Office of Policy and Management (“OPM”) that involve the LPT;

c.       Copies of any communications between DOC and Berkley (DOC’s former third-party workers compensation administrator) and between DOC and GAB Robbins (DOC’s current third-party workers compensation administrator) concerning the LPT;

d.      Copies of any instructions or directions sent by DAS or OPM to DOC that explained the LPT or directed the DOC to offer or refer or prepare or compile or construct for DAS or OPM or any other entity a list of names of certain DOC employees or their families with workers compensation cases for the LPT transaction, prior to November 16, 2001;

e.       Copies of any lists of names provided by DOC of certain DOC employees or their families with workers compensation cases submitted or provided by DOC to DAS or OPM or any other entity concerning the LPT prior to November 16, 2001;

f.        Copies of any DOC monthly reports, meetings, memos, and so forth, that mention or concern the LPT, from 1999 to the present;

g.       The dates in 2001 that Commissioner Armstrong for the DOC or his designee attended any and all Connecticut legislative workshops held by the appropriations committee concerning the LPT, which he provided materials for;

h.       Copies of any material supplied by the DOC or Commissioner Armstrong or any designees attending any legislative workshops in 2001 held by the appropriations committee concerning the LPT;

i.          Since June 1, 2006, all dates the complainant’s workers compensation history or data on file on DOC terminals, computers, files and so forth was accessed;

j.        Since June 1, 2006 the names of individuals who accessed the complainant’s workers compensation records at DOC;

k.      Since June 1, 2006, copies of any request for information to the DOC on record concerning the complainant’s workers compensation history or data;

l.         Since June 1, 2006, copies of the complainant’s workers compensation computer screens accessed;

m.     Copies of any communications concerning the complainant to DOC from any outside source since June 1, 2006; and

n.       Copies of any and all communications concerning George Brey from DOC to any outside source since June 1, 2006.

 

4.  It is found that, by letter dated March 8, 2007, the respondent replied to the complainant, providing certain records responsive to paragraph 3.a, above; indicating that there were no records responsive to paragraphs 3.b through 3.f, above, his request; indicating that a response to paragraph 3.g required answering a question, conducting research, and creating a document; that there were no records responsive to paragraph 3.h, above; and providing a copy of two emails in response to paragraphs 3.i through 3.n, above.

 

5.  It is found that the respondent withheld a four-page document known as the “loss portfolio list” or the “DOC Retired Separated Widow list” responsive to paragraph 3.e, above.

 

6.  At the hearing, the complainant withdrew the portion of his complaint pertaining to paragraphs 3.i and 3.l, above.

 

7.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:

 

“Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.

 

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 (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. 

 

9.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain or certified copy of any public record.”

 

10.  It is found that the records described in paragraphs 4 and 5, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.

 

11.  It is found that the respondent conducted a diligent search for any records responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

12.  It is also found that, apart from the records provided to the complainant, and the single record withheld from the complainant, the respondent has no other records responsive to the complainant’s request.

 

13.  It is therefore concluded that the respondent did not violate the FOI Act with respect to any of the requested records that it does not have in its custody.

 

14.  The respondent contends that the record withheld from the complainant, as described in paragraph 5, above, is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(4), G.S.

 

15.  Section 1-210(b)(4), G.S., provides that disclosure is not required of “[r]ecords pertaining to strategy and negotiations with respect to pending claims or pending litigation to which the public agency is a party until such litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled ….”

 

16.  It is found that the record described in paragraph 5, above, appears to be a list of certain DOC employees with workers compensation claims, together with the amount of the claim and certain other information identifying the claim.  The record contains no information pertaining to strategy or negotiation.  Other than the fact that the record appears to refer to workers compensation claims, there is no evidence that the claims are pending.

 

17.  It is found that the respondent failed to prove that the record described in paragraph 5, above, is exempt from disclosure pursuant to 1-210(b)(4), G.S. 

 

18.  It is concluded that the respondent violated 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., by failing to provide a copy of the record described in paragraph 5, above.

 

 

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

 

            1.  With the exception of the portion of the complainant’s request described in paragraph 3.e, above, the complaint is dismissed.

 

            2.  With respect to the portion of the complainant’s request described in paragraph 3.e, above, the respondent shall forthwith provide the complainant with a copy of the record described in paragraph 5, above.

 

            3.  In complying with paragraph 2 of the order, above, the respondent may redact all social security numbers.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of December 12, 2007.

 

 

________________________________

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:

 

George Brey

970 Flanders Road

Coventry, CT 06238

           

Commissioner, State of Connecticut,

Department of Correction

c/o Sandra Sharr, Esq.

Department of Correction

24 Wolcott Hill Road

Wethersfield, CT 06109

 

 

 

___________________________________

Petrea A. Jones

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2007-051FD/paj/12/18/2007