OF NEW BRITAIN
AND TOWN OF
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
is an administrative appeal from a final decision of the defendant, Freedom of
Inforrnation Commission ("FOIC"), brought pursuant to General
Statute §§ 1-206(d) and 4-183. The plaintiff, Lorraine Longmoor, claims
that the FOIC incorrectly concluded that based on the facts and circumstances
of this case, the Barkharnsted town clerk and the zoning enforcement officer
for the town of Barkhamsted did not violate General Statutes §1-210(a) of the
Freedom of Information Act. In the present case, the town of Barkhamsted was
granted permission by the court to intervene as a party defendant.
The parties are in substantial agreement as to the factual background.
The plaintiff requested to inspect “Barkhamsted ordinances and regulations
in effect during the years 1967 to 1969 regarding road construction and
subdivisions as well as records related to the development of a specific
subdivision in town.” (Return of Record ("ROR"), p. 72.) The
agents for the town of Barkhamsted made a thorough and diligent search for the
records but were unable to locate them. (ROR, p. 73.) Two relevant officials
of Barkhamsted testified and the FOIC concluded that "Barkhamsted neither
maintain nor keep on file the records" requested. (ROR, p. 73.) In
addition, the record amply supports the efforts Barkhamsted made in searching
for the requested records (ROR, pp. 28, 29, 31, 40, 49, 51, 52, 58.) In fact
the plaintiff testified at the agency hearing held on June 16, 2000 and
acknowledged that Barkhamsted made a very good effort to provide her with the
documentation she requested and that she believed the records she was seeking
no longer existed. (ROR, pp. 39-40.) An examination of the record clearly
indicates that Barkhamsted made diligent efforts to locate the requested
records but if, in fact, there were any records they no longer exist and have
not existed for a long period of time. The claim asserted by the plaintiff
that the records should be reconstructed is of no avail as there are no
records to reconstruct.
The plaintiff alleges in her initial complaint to the FOIC dated May 24, 2000 that she requested ordinances and regulations in effect during the years 1967 to 1969 regarding road construction and subdivisions as well as any records in the development of a specific subdivision which is recorded and filed by map titled Fifth Revision of a subdivision of land from Marshall Case to Burton Carroll. (ROR, p. 4.) She made no claim for relief. Again, in her notices of appeal dated September 13, 2000 and November 15, 2000, she charges that Barkhamsted is required to maintain and keep records and that it cannot produce same. Again, there is no claim for relief other than to find that Barkhamsted failed to keep records. There is no claim or suggestion that Barkhamsted has acted other than in good faith. The gravamen of the plaintiff's complaint both before FOIC and this court is unknown and can only be surmised by conjecture.
court reviews the issues raised by the plaintiff in accordance with the
limited scope of judicial review afforded by the Uniform Administrative
Procedure Act ("UAPA"). Dolgner v. Alander, 237 Conn. 272,
280 (1996). "[The court] must decide, in view of all of the evidence,
whether the agency, in issuing its order, acted unreasonably, arbitrarily or
illegally, or abused its discretion.... Even as to questions of law, [t]he
court's ultimate duty is only to decide whether, in light
of the evidence, the [agency] has acted unreasonably, arbitrarily,
illegally, or in abuse of its discretion.... Conclusions of law reached by the
administrative agency must stand if the court determines that they resulted
from a correct application of the law to the facts found and could reasonably
and logically follow from such facts.... [I]t is the well established practice
of this court to accord great deference to the construction given [a] statute
by the agency charged with its enforcement." (Citations omitted; emphasis
in original; internal quotation marks omitted.) Perkins v. Freedom of
Infonnation Commission, 228 Conn. 158, 164-65 (1993).
Supreme Court has long held and recently affirmed that the doctrine of
justiciability requires "that the determination of the controversy will
result in practical relief to the complainant." Pamela B. v. Ment, 244
Conn. 296, 311 (1998); State v. Nardini, 187 Conn. 109, 111-12 (1982).
An issue is moot when the court can not longer grant any practical relief. Twichell
v. Guile, 53 Conn. App. 42, 52
(1999); Kevin S. v. Dept. of Children & Families, 49 Conn. App.
706, 709-10 (1998). Even if this court were will to give retroactive effect to
General Statutes §§ 1-200 to 1-241 that were adopted in 1975 or find that
FOIC had jurisdiction to enforce Public Acts 1957, No. 57-468 or Public Acts
1967, No. 67-723 both of which was repealed in 1975 as a result of passage
of General Statutes §§ l -200 to 1-241, this court is not to make judicial
opinions merely to make points of law. Waterbury Hospital v. Connecticut
Health Care Associates, 186 Conn 247, 249-50 (1982); Harkins v.
Driscoll, 165 Conn. 407, 409 (1973).
court has carefully considered the entire administrative record, the briefs
and arguments of the parties. The court concludes that there is substantial
evidence in the record to support the FOIC's determination that a diligent
search for the records had been made by Barkhamsted and that if the requested
records did exist they no longer exist.
The appeal is dismissed.