FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION
OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION
Ethan Book,  
  Complainant  
  against   Docket #FIC 2010-603

Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General,

State of Connecticut, Office of the

Attorney General; and

State of Connecticut,

Office of the Attorney General,

 
  Respondents August 10, 2011
       

           

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on April 4, 2011, 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.  By letter of complaint filed September 27, 2010, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents failed to comply with his request for certain records.

 

3.  It is found that the complainant made an August 23, 2010 request for:

 

 … that documentation which would reflect the amounts paid to the law firms of Silver, Golub & Teitell of Stamford, Emmett & Glander of Stamford, and Carmody & Torrance of New Haven, regarding their professional representation of state interests in the late 1990’s litigation against tobacco companies. Please also provide documentary detail as to how the paid amounts were calculated and justified.

 

4.  It is found that the respondents had previously, in response to earlier requests for the same documents, informed the complainant that they had no responsive documents.

 

5.  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.

 

6.  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….   

 

7. It is found that no payments were made by the state to the three law firms for the tobacco litigation described in the complainant’s request in paragraph 3, above, because the master agreement concluding the tobacco litigation provided for fees to be paid by the tobacco companies to the states’ private counsel. The state was not a party to that fee process and has no documents regarding the payment of fees.

 

8.  It is therefore found that the respondents have no documents responsive to the complainant’s request, and that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged.

 

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 August 10, 2011.

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

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:

 

Ethan Book

P.O. Box 1385

Fairfield, CT 06825

 

Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General,

State of Connecticut, Office of the

Attorney General; and

State of Connecticut,

Office of the Attorney General

C/o Philip Miller, Esq.

Assistant Attorney General

55 Elm Street

Hartford, CT 06141

 

 

 

____________________________

S. Wilson

Acting Clerk of the Commission

 

 

FIC/2010-603FD/sw/8/18/2011