FOI: Court Decisions 2012

Court Decisions 2012
 
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.
 
2012 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.
 
2012 Court Decisions
 
Vincent M. Valvo, et al., v. Freedom of Information Commission, SC 18283 (January 26, 2012), Supreme Court
294 Conn. 534 (2012)
 
 
The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the trial court dismissing the appeal of the plaintiffs, who had requested copies of certain sealed docket sheets.  Although the Commission and the trial court dismissed the complaint on the ground that the docket sheets were not administrative records under Clerk of the Superior Court v. Freedom of Information Commission, 278 Conn. 28 (2006), the Supreme Court upheld the dismissal on the alternate ground that the plaintiffs’ claim was nonjusticiable.
 
 

 

Duane Tompkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., AC 32932, (July 3, 2012), Appellate Court
 
Duane Tompkins v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-08-4018826S (July 13, 2009) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J. 

Town of Enfield, et al. v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV08-4018838S (July 13, 2009), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J. 
 
 
The appellate court upheld a superior court judgment dismissing two separate appeals of the Commission’s holding that the respondents failed to prove that, other than the sexually explicit language contained in verbatim transcripts of instant messages, the information contained in the transcripts and internal affairs investigation into the origin of the transcripts were exempt because the disclosure of these records would constitute an invasion of personal privacy pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(2).  The appellate court further upheld the superior court’s judgment that the Commission correctly determined that the respondents failed to prove that the verbatim transcripts and the internal affairs investigation records were exempt from disclosure pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(3)(G), as records of a law enforcement agency not otherwise available to the public, which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime and which contained uncorroborated allegations of criminal activity. 
 
 

 

Thomas Germain v. Town of Manchester, et al., AC 33167 (May 1, 2012), Appellate Court
 
Thomas Germain v. Town of Manchester, et al., HHB- CV-10-5014885S (January 6, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 

The Appellate Court upheld a superior court judgment dismissing an appeal of the Commission’s holding that Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-212(g) limited the permissible scanners that could be used to copy public records to scanners that are held in the hand and dragged across the record being copied. 
 
 

 

Lamberto Lucarelli v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al.,  AC 33336 (May 29, 2012) Appellate Court
 
Lamberto Lucarelli v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB–CV- 10-5015001S (March 10, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The Appellate Court dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal of the superior court’s decision and concluded that “according to the plain language of [Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-213(b)(3)], the messages left on the police department’s answering machine system constitute voice mail messages, and the department was not required to transcribe or to retain any type of voice mail message.”  The Court concluded that the hearing officer’s failure to rule on the plaintiff’s request to issue subpoenas did not constitute an abuse of discretion or substantially prejudice the plaintiff. 
 
 

 

Kimberly Albright-Lazzari, et al. v. Colleen Murphy, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, AC 33444, (June 5, 2012) Appellate Court
 
Kimberly Albright-Lazzari, et al. v. Colleen Murphy, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-095014970S (April 21, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 

In a per curiam decision, the Appellate Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court dismissing the appeal of a Commission decision, holding that once the Mayor of Wallingford produced documents that he maintained, he had no further duty to provide records maintained by other town agencies, or to answer questions about or create documents that he did not maintain.
 
 

 

Kimberly Albright-Lazzari, et al. v. Colleen Murphy, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, AC 33446 (April 3, 2012) Appellate Court
 
Kimberly Albright-Lazzari, et al. v. Colleen Murphy, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-105014984S (April 21, 2011) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
In a per curiam decision, the Appellate Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court dismissing the appeal of a Commission decision which held that  the Commission did not have jurisdiction over requests for Department of Children and Families records pertaining to child protection activities.
 
 

 
 
University of Connecticut v. Freedom of Information Commission et al., HHB-CV-09-4021320S (April 21, 2010) N.B. Superior Court, Vacchelli, J.
 
 
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court that a public agency can create and maintain a trade secret. This case involved four databases at UCONN, consisting of:  (a) the names and addresses of season ticket purchasers to athletic events; (b) the names and addresses of purchasers and prospects for performing arts events at Jorgensen Auditorium; (c) the names and addresses of persons who made inquiries to the Center for Continuing Studies, but not including information protected from disclosure by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; and (d) the names and addresses of donors and friends of the University Libraries, but not including anonymous donors. The superior court held that the first three lists were “customer lists”, and that the trade secret exemption applied. With reference to the Libraries list, the superior court held that a list of donors could qualify for the trade secret exemption, but that the record did not include findings as to whether the identity of donors was not generally known and not readily ascertainable by proper means. The superior court therefore remanded the case to the Commission for further proceedings.
 
On appeal, the Supreme Court held that a public agency that creates and maintains information that would constitute a trade secret if it were created by a private entity need not engage in a “trade” in order to shield information from disclosure. Rather, the application of the trade secret exemption turns on whether the government has engaged in activities that create qualifying intellectual property.
 
 

 

Paul J. Garlasco v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-11-6000271S  (February 2, 2012) N.B. Superior Court, Owens, JTR.
 
 
The superior court dismissed the appeal of the Commission’s decision that the Town of Bridgewater is not required by Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-211, to establish an online banking relationship with its financial institution.
 
 

 

Paul J. Garlasco v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-11-6009-297S (February 7, 2012) N.B. Superior Court, Owens, JTR.
 
 
Substantial evidence existed in the record to support the Commission’s decision that the Town of Bridgewater did not violate the FOI Act because it complied with the complainant’s request for records.  Accordingly, the superior court dismissed the appeal.
 
 

 

Connecticut Department of Public Health v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-11-6009147S (March 28, 2012) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
The Greenwich Time v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-11-6009209S (March 28, 2012) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The Commission concluded that disclosure of medical records, which were incorporated into the Department of Public Health’s investigation of a complaint against a physician, would constitute an invasion of privacy, and therefore, it was not a violation for DPH to withhold them.  As for the requested databank records, the Commission concluded that federal law controlled whether such records were subject to disclosure.  The federal law (45 CFR 61.14(a)) pertaining to the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB) prohibited disclosure to the public, so it was not a violation for DPH to withhold HIPDB records.  The statute pertaining to the National Practitioner’s Data Bank (NPDB” (45 CFR 60.15(a)), however, permits DPH to disclose information it receives from the NPDB if disclosure “is authorized under applicable State law to make such disclosure.”  The FOI Act is the “applicable State law” that authorizes disclosure of public records; therefore, the NPDB records were permitted to be disclosed.  The Commission relied on Connecticut Supreme Court case law in reaching its conclusions; Director of Health Affairs Policy Planning v. FOI Commission, 293 Conn. 164, 180, n.3 (2009).
 
Both Greenwich Time and DPH appealed the Commission’s decision concerning the two databanks.  (Greenwich Time did not appeal the Commission’s decision concerning the medical records.)  The superior court affirmed, and dismissed the appeals.  Both Greenwich Time and DPH have appealed the superior court’s decision to the Appellate Court, where the matter is pending.
 
 

 

Commissioner, Department of Correction v. Freedom of Information Commission and David Taylor, HHB-CV-10-6006278S (April 5, 2012) N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The superior court reversed the Commission’s decision that disclosure to an inmate of victim impact statements would not pose a safety risk under Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(18), G.S., because the Department of Correction failed to prove that disclosure to the requestor, in particular, as opposed to inmates in general, may pose a safety risk.  According to the court, the DOC need only give “reasonable reasons…drawn from observations about inmates in general as opposed to a specific inmate making the request,” and the Commission’s role is to determine whether the DOC’s reasons were “pretextual and not bona fide, or irrational.”
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court and concluded that, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-215, during the pendency of a criminal prosecution, police departments are not required to provide more than basic police blotter information (the “record of the arrest,” see Conn. Gen. Stat.  §1-215) and one other document, which may be a press release, or the incident or arrest report, or similar information.  The FOIC appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, which upheld the Appellate Court's decision. See docket # SC 19047 posted under "2014 Commission and Court Decisions."
 

 
 
Bradshaw Smith v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-11-5015510S (August 30, 2012), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
Docket #FIC 2012-695
 
The superior court upheld the Commission’s decision that the Town of Windsor’s police department was not required to provided the complainant with a written response to his request for records informing him that no records exist.
 
 

 

Bradshaw Smith v. Freedom of Information Commission, et al., HHB-CV-11-5015511S (September 11, 2012), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The superior court upheld the Commission’s decision finding: (1) that the Town of Windsor’s police department promptly responded to the complainant’s request for records, and therefore did not violate the FOI Act; and (2) that the complainant acted frivolously, without reasonable grounds, and solely for the purpose of harassing the police department when he filed the complaint with the Commission, thereby warranting the imposition of a $25 civil penalty against the complainant.
 
 

 
 
 
The superior court dismissed the plaintiff Anthony Lazzari’s appeal of the Commission’s final decision, finding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint for failure to appear at the hearing.
 
The superior court also entered judgment against plaintiff Kimberly Albright-Lazzari for failing to attend a noticed pre-trial and the oral argument hearing in this matter.
 
 

 
 
 
The superior court dismissed the plaintiff Anthony Lazzari’s appeal of the Commission’s final decision, finding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint for failure to appear at the hearing.
 
The superior court also entered judgment against plaintiff Kimberly Albright-Lazzari for failing to attend a noticed pre-trial and the oral argument hearing in this matter.
 
 

 
 
 
The superior court dismissed the plaintiff Anthony Lazzari’s appeal of the Commission’s final decision, finding that the Commission did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint for failure to appear at the hearing.
 
The superior court also entered judgment against plaintiff Kimberly Albright-Lazzari for failing to attend a noticed pre-trial and the oral argument hearing in this matter.
 
 

 
 
Kimberly Albright v. Colleen Murphy, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-11-5015473S (August 8, 2012) N.B. Superior Court, J. Cohn
 
Docket #FIC 2011-105
 
The plaintiff appealed a final decision of the Commission where the Commission dismissed her appeal for failure to appear at the hearing.  The superior court dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal for failure to prosecute under Practice Book Section 14-3(a) when the plaintiff failed to appear in court at the time of oral argument.  
 
 

 
 
 
Department of Correction v. Freedom of Information Commission and El Badrawi; USA & DOC v. Freedom of Information Commission and El Badrawi, HHB-CV08-4016692S; HHB-CV09-4020945S (November 17, 2009 and January 11, 2010), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that a federal regulation, 8 C.F.R. § 236.6, prohibited the Connecticut Department of Correction from disclosing any of the records, including the NCIC printout, that the agency maintained concerning detainees currently or formerly held in state custody pursuant to contract with the federal government.  The Court declined to reach any of the other claimed exemptions, since the entire record was exempted by federal regulations, operating through §1-210(a), G.S.
 
 




Content Last Modified on 2/5/2015 3:29:08 PM