FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Priscilla Dickman,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2009-673

Director of Health Affairs Policy

Planning, State of Connecticut,

University of Connecticut Health

Center, Office of Health Center

Administration; and State of

Connecticut, University of

Connecticut Health Center,

 
  Respondents July 14, 2010
       

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 7, 2010, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts 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 respondents are public agencies within the meaning of 1-200(1), G.S.

 

2.  It is found that, by letter dated October 12, 2009, the complainant sent a request for records to the respondents, in which she sought a copy of the following:  “the emails on [sic] the following individual, Anthony (Tony) Borda for the period in time of January 1, 2004 through the date he resigned from the Health Center.” 

 

3.  It is found that, by letter dated October 15, 2009, the respondents acknowledged the complainant’s request for records, clarifying that it was their understanding that the complainant was requesting Mr. Borda’s email from January 1, 2004 through the date he resigned that were related in some way to her. 

 

4.  It is further found that, by letter dated October 29, 2009, the respondents informed the complainant that they had searched throughout Mr. Borda’s computer and email accounts, as well as through his hard copy files for any records that had the words “Dickman” or “Priscilla” in them, but had found no responsive records.

5.  By letter dated November 1, 2009 and filed November 5, 2009, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by not complying with her request for records.

 

6.  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.

 

7.  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 . . .  (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.

 

8.  Section 1-212(a)(1), 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.


            9.  It is found that, to the extent that the respondents maintain the records described in paragraph 2, above, such records are “public records” and must be disclosed promptly in accordance with 1-210(a) and 1-212(a), G.S., unless they are exempt from disclosure. 

 

10. At the hearing in this case, the complainant testified that, in fact, the respondents’ interpretation of the request—to wit, that the complainant was seeking Mr. Borda’s email from January 1, 2004 through the date he resigned that explicitly mentioned her name or were in some way related to her, was correct.   

11. It is found that the respondents directed the associate hospital director to review all of the hospital records that Mr. Borda left behind, including computerized records, to determine if any of the records would be responsive to the complainant’s request.  It is further found that the associate hospital director conducted a search of Mr. Borda’s physical files, and brought in an information technology specialist to re-establish a connection to Mr. Borda’s computer files, including his email.  It is further found that the respondents searched all of Mr. Borda’s electronic records, including the local hard drive of his work computer and, the respondents’ central server, for the search terms “Priscilla” and “Dickman.” 

 

12. It is found that, at the conclusion of the searches described in paragraph 11, above, the respondents had not found any records responsive to the complainant’s request.  It is further found that the respondents promptly notified the complainant that they had no records responsive to her request.  

 

13. It is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act, 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 dismissed.

 

 

 

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 14, 2010.

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

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:

 

Priscilla Dickman

2534 Boston Turnpike

Coventry, CT  06238

 

Director of Health Affairs Policy Planning, State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut Health Center, Office of Health Center Administration; and

State of Connecticut, University of Connecticut Health Center

c/o Donald R. Green, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

University of CT Health Center

263 Farmington Avenue

Farmington, CT  06030

 

 

 

____________________________

Cynthia A. Cannata

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

 

FIC/2009-673/FD/cac/7/15/2010