June 12, 2001 CONNECTICUT LAW JOURNAL                 Page 41A


                                    63 Conn. App. 695      JUNE, 2001                695


                                    Meri-Weather, Inc. v.  Freedom of Information Comnussion







(AC 20731)


                                    Lavery, C. J., and Dranginis and Hennessy, Js.


                                    Argued April 30—officially released June 12, 2001


Procedural History


Appeals from 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.


David L. Metzger, for the appellants (plaintiffs).


Victor 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 .


Christopher P. Hankins, deputy city attorney, for the appellee (defendant Mark Benigni).




PER CURIAM. The plaintiff Meri‑Weather, Inc. (Meri­Weather), [1] appeals from the judgments of the trial court rendered in favor of the defendants, the freedom of





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                                                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, [2] dismissing the plaintiff's administrative appeals from two decisions by the commission. [3]   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 (a) (1). [4]


On appeal, 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.


The 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.


Our 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

Fire Ins. Co., 62 Conn. App. 526, 528, A.2d (2001).


The judgment is affirmed.


[1] Gregory 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.


[2] Benigni, 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.


[3] The 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.


[4] Practice 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 . . . . "                                    .