June 12, 2001 CONNECTICUT LAW JOURNAL Page 41A
63 Conn. App. 695 JUNE, 2001 695
Meri-Weather, Inc. v. Freedom of Information Comnussion
MERI-WEATHER, INC., ET AL. v. FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION COMMISSION ET AL.
MERI‑WEATHER, INC. v. MICHAEL KELLEY ET AL.
Lavery, C. J., and Dranginis and Hennessy, Js.
Argued April 30—officially released June 12, 2001
two decisions by the defendant freedom of information commission determining
that the plaintiff Meri‑Weather, Inc., is the functional equivalent of a
public agency and subject to the Freedom of Information Act, and ordering
the disclosure of certain financial records, brought to the Superior Court
in the judicial district of New Britain and tried to the court, Hon. Robert Satter, judge trial referee; judgments dismissing the
appeals, from which the plaintiffs filed a consolidated appeal to this court. Affirned.
L. Metzger, for the appellants (plaintiffs).
R. Perpetua, appellate attorney, with whom, on the
brief, were Clifton A. Leonhardt, chief
counsel, and Mitchell W. Pearlman, general
counsel, for the appellee (defendant freedom of information commission .
P. Hankins, deputy city attorney, for the appellee
(defendant Mark Benigni).
PER CURIAM. The plaintiff Meri‑Weather,
appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of
the defendants, the freedom of
CONNECTICUT LAW JOURNAL
June 12, 2001
696 JUNE, 2001 63 Conn. App. 695
Meri‑Weather, Inc. v. Freedom of Information Commission
information commission (commission) and
Mark Benigni in the first case, and
Michael Kelley, the Record Journal Publishing Company and the commission in
the second case,
dismissing the plaintiff's administrative appeals from two
decisions by the commission.
The commission found
in each case that Meri‑Weather was subject to the Freedom of Information
Act (act), General Statutes § 1‑200 et seq., as the functional
equivalent of a public agency. Meri‑Weather is the plaintiff in both
matters, and the issues involved in those cases on appeal are identical. The
cases were joined for purposes of appeal pursuant to Practice Book § 61‑7
the plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) determined that the
"extent of government involvement" factor of the functional
equivalent test of a public agency was met even though the core activities of
the plaintiff were not subject to government involvement or regulation, (2)
relied on the alter ego doctrine in determining that the plaintiff was the
functional equivalent of a public agency, (3) determined that the plaintiff
was created by the government and (4) determined that the plaintiff was the
functional equivalent of a public agency subject to the act.
defendants respond that the court correctly concluded that (1) the plaintiff
is the functional equivalent
June 12, 2001 CONNECTICUT LAW JOURNAL Page 43A
63 Conn. App. 697 JUNE, 2001 697
of a public agency subject to the act,
(2) there was substantial evidence on the record to support a conclusion
that Meri‑Weather was created by the government, (3) there was
substantial evidence on the record to support a conclusion that the Meriden
community action agency (agency) had dominant control of Meri-Weather, (4)
the agency satisfied the functional equivalent test because the court gave
particular weight to its domination of Meri‑Weather and (5) public
policy considerations support disclosure by a nominally private corporation
performing a governmental function related to community development to promote
accountability concerning those critical governmental functions.
examination of the record and briefs persuades us that the judgments should be
affirmed. The court's memorandum of decision in the first case, which the
court adopted as its decision in the second case, is detailed, thoughtful and
comprehensive. Its analysis is consistent with our applicable law and
precedents, and we therefore adopt the court's well reasoned decision.
See Meri‑Weather, Inc. v.
Freedom of Information Commission, 47 Conn. Sup. 113,
A.2d (2000). It would serve no
useful purpose to repeat the discussion contained therein. See Sansone
v. Nationwide Mutual
Ins. Co., 62 Conn. App. 526, 528, A.2d (2001).
The judgment is affirmed.
P. Haskins. the chief executive officer of Meri-Weather, also was a
plaintiff in the first case. We refer in this opinion to Meri‑Weather
as the plaintiff.
a Meriden city councilor, and Kelley, a managing editor for the Record‑Journal
Publishing Company in Meriden, each had sought certain financial documents
from Meri‑Weather prior to filing complaints with the commission
seeking disclosure of those documents.
plaintiff filed separate appeals in the Superior Court from the
commission's decisions. The Superior Court dismissed the plaintiff’s
appeals in separate memoranda of decision. In its memorandum in the second
appeal, the court adopted its
decision that is contained in its memorandum in the first case. We adopt the
court's memorandum of decision in
the first case as a correct statement of the law in both cases.
Book § 61‑7 (a) (1) provides in relevant part: "Two or more
plaintiffs or defendants in the same case may appeal jointly or severally.
Separate cases heard together and involving at least one common party may as
of right be appealed jointly, provided all the trial court docket numbers
are shown on the appeal form . . . . "