FOI: Court Decisions 2011

Court Decisions 2011
 
Note:  The court decisions published here are for the convenience of the public.  While every effort is made to assure accuracy, the public is advised that only the original court decisions are official.  In this regard, please note that the format of court decisions at this Website may not correspond exactly to the format in the official version of those decisions.
 
Listed below are court decisions pertaining to appeals of FOI decisions.
 
Next to each decision listed is a short description of the issue or issues involved in the decision.  These descriptions are intended to be used as a general index to assist the public and may not reference every issue in each decision.
 
To choose a document, click on your selection below.
 
2011 Court Decisions
The list of court decisions issued in 2010 is updated when the Commission receives such decisions from the courts.   These decision documents are in HTML.
 
2011 Decisions
 
Chief, Police Department, City of Hartford, et al., v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-10-6005786S (January 7, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The superior court dismissed the police chief’s appeal of the Commission’s decision finding that the city had violated the FOI Act and ordering disclosure of certain police records to the requestor.  The chief denied the request on the ground that the charges to which the requested records were related were nollied, despite the fact that the requestor was incarcerated at the time of the request, convicted of the very charges that the chief claimed were nollied.
 
 

 

State of Connecticut, Office of the Attorney General v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-09-4021768S (January 18, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Owens, JTR.
 
 
The superior court reversed and remanded the Commission’s decision requiring disclosure, under Conn. Gen. Stat. §§4-61dd and 1-210(b)(13), G.S., of records maintained by the Attorney General’s office related to whistleblower investigations, once such investigations were concluded.  The remaining issues on appeal, attorney client privilege (Conn. Gen. Stat. §52-146r), preliminary drafts and notes (Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(1)), and strategy and negotiations (Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(4)), were remanded with direction from the court for the Commission to consider such issues in light of the court’s ruling on Conn. Gen. Stat. §4-61dd.
 
On March 28, 2012, the Commission issued a new Final Decision in which it found that all the requested records related to whistleblower investigations and were therefore exempt under Conn. Gen. Stat. §§4-61dd and 1-210(b)(13) in accordance with the court’s decision.
 
 

 
 
Chairperson, Connecticut Medical Examining Board v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-10-6003500S (June 24, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Owens, JTR.
 
 
The superior court upheld the Commission’s findings that C.G.S. §52-146r, which governs attorney-client privileged communications, was merely an evidentiary statute and that it does not supersede C.G.S. §1-231(b) which precludes public agencies from convening in executive session to receive attorney-client privileged communications unless such communications fall within one of the permissible purposes found in C.G.S. 1-200(6).  The superior court also upheld the Commission’s finding that the letter sent to the board’s attorney did not constitute a pending claim within the meaning of C.G.S. §§1-200(6)(B) and 1-200(8) because it only asserted that the board’s attorney may have a conflict of interest and suggested that he secure outside counsel for the board while it deliberated over a request for declaratory ruling.  The superior court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the Commission’s final decision.  However, the plaintiffs appealed the decision, and the ruling was issued in 2013 (SC 19055).
 
See court and commission decisions posted under "2013 Commission and Court Decisions."
 

 

State of Connecticut Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-10-6007661S (July 15, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The superior court dismissed the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board’s appeal of  the Commission’s decision, holding that the Board’s deliberations during a hearing must be held in public.  The Board urged that, because a judge trial referee presided over the evidentiary and argument portion of a hearing, the Board’s hearings are exempt from the FOI Act.  The court noted that, pursuant to statute and regulation, the Office of State Ethics is “an independent state agency” (emphasis added) and the Board is placed “within the Office of State Ethics.”   As a public agency, it is subject to the open meeting requirements of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225.
 
 

 
 
State of Connecticut Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-11-6009483S (July 15, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The superior court dismissed the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board’s appeal of a decision of the Commission, holding that the addition of the trial judge referee to the hearing process does not insulate the Board from FOIA requirements.  The decision noted that, pursuant to statute and regulation, the Office of State Ethics is “an independent state agency” (emphasis added) and the Board is placed “within the Office of State Ethics”. Because there is a convening of a quorum of a multimember public agency, the Board is subject to the open meeting requirements of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225.
 
 

 
 
 
Planning and Zoning Commission, Town of Pomfret, et al. v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-09-4019953-S and HHB-CV-09-4019954-S (November 10, 2009), N.B. Superior Court, Vacchelli, J.
 
 
The Appellate Court ruled that Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-212, by its plan language, requires that requests for copies be put in writing, and that because the request was not a written request, the P&Z was not required to comply. 
 
The effect of this decision is that members of the public now must put their requests in writing.
 
 

 

Richard Simons, Yale Police Benevolent Association v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-106007012S (October 17, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The plaintiffs requested payroll records pertaining to management in the Yale University Police Department.  Although an earlier decision by the Commission concluded that the Yale University Police Department was the functional equivalent of a public agency, the Commission narrowed that ruling in this case, concluding that the Yale University Police Department is not the functional equivalent of a public agency with respect to its salary and payroll functions.  Salaries were set and funded by Yale University, a private organization.  Moreover, the Commission concluded that the records requested by the plaintiffs concerning salary and payroll were exempt under Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(2), concluding that disclosure would constitute an invasion of personal privacy:   the payroll records did not pertain to a legitimate matter of public concern and if disclosed, would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. The plaintiffs appealed to the superior court, which affirmed the Commission’s decision.  The plaintiffs declined to seek review by the Appellate Court.
 
 

 

Bradshaw Smith v. Freedom of Information Commission et al., HHB-CV-10-5015156S (December 28, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
Docket #FIC 2009-537; Docket FIC 2009-609; and Docket #FIC 2009-610
 
The superior court dismissed the appeals of three decisions of the Commission in which the Commission concluded the Town of Windsor did not violate the FOI Act.
 
 

 
 
Connecticut Department of Education, et al. v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-11-6009562S (December 29, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
Martin A. Gould v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-11-6009584S (December 29, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 

The superior court upheld the Commission’s decision concluding that the arbitration hearing from which the reporter was excluded contained portions in which the parties to the arbitration presented evidence.  Such portions were neither strategy nor negotiation sessions, and therefore should have been open to the public.  The Commission ordered the Department of Education and the arbitration panel to create a transcript of the stenographic record of the hearing.  DOE did not appeal the superior court decision; one panel member filed an appeal in the Appellate Court, where the matter is pending.
 
 

 
 
University of Connecticut Health Center v. FOIC, et al., HHB-CV-10-6006708S (June 28, 2011), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn J.
 

The superior court dismissed UCONN’s appeal of the Commission’s final decision, finding that the Commission did not err when it determined that UCONN had failed to prove that records created during an investigation into an employee’s conduct were exempt from disclosure pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(1), as preliminary drafts or preliminary notes. 
 
 
 




Content Last Modified on 10/18/2013 11:13:36 AM