FOI: Court Decisions 2009

Court Decisions 2009
 
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.
 
2009 Court Decisions
The list of court decisions issued in 2009 is updated when the Commission receives such decisions from the courts.   These decision documents are in HTML.
 
2009 Court Decisions
 
 
 
     The Superior Court upheld the FOIC’s decision that six pages of the police incident report regarding a suicide are not exempt from disclosure.  While they contain medical information, they are not a “medical file” within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(2), and therefore, are not exempt.
 




 
 
 
     The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the superior court which had upheld the Commission's decision ordering disclosure of certain portions of records maintained by DPS’s Sex Offender Registry Unit.  The Supreme Court concluded that the requested information was “registration information,” such that it may be withheld from disclosure under Conn. Gen. Stat. §54-258(a)(4), which provides that “registration information the dissemination of which has been restricted by court order pursuant to §54-255 and which is not otherwise subject to disclosure, shall not be a public record….” 
 




James Strillacci, Chief of Police v. Freedom of Information Commission, HHB-CV-08-40181120S (April 20, 2009), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
     Police Chief James Strillacci appealed a decision of the FOIC that a completed, typed document containing a list of all lawsuits filed against the department was not exempt from disclosure.  Strillacci argued that the record was a “preliminary draft or note”, and that it was therefore exempt from disclosure, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(1).  The Superior Court agreed with the FOIC’s decision that the document was not preliminary, as it was not expected to be modified.   The court concluded instead that the record aided Strillacci in his public duties and was therefore a public document, not exempt from disclosure under the FOI Act. 
 
 



 
 
     The Superior Court affirmed the decision of the FOIC that the FOI Act applied to Mayor Perez’s task force on the fate of the former civic center in Hartford.  The City of Hartford argued that the task force is not a public agency because it is composed mostly of private individuals.  Its meetings, the City claimed, are private and not open to the public.  The court ruled that the task force conducts government business and was created by the mayor, who assembled the leaders of the task force, and who permits the task force to use City’s resources.  The task force is a public agency, to which the FOI Act applies.  The City appealed to the Appellate Court.  The Supreme Court transferred the case to its docket, but while the case was pending, the city withdrew its appeal.
 
 



 
 
 
     The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Appellate Court reversing the decision of the trial court in favor of the Commission. The Commission had concluded that Lash failed to prove that two records were exempt as attorney-client privileged and imposed a civil penalty. The Supreme Court agreed with the Appellate Court that such conclusion was incorrect as a matter of law and constituted an abuse of discretion.
 
 



Director of Health Affairs Policy Planning, University of Connecticut Health Center v. FOIC,
SC 18286 293 (August 25, 2009), Supreme Court
293 Conn. 164 (2010)
 
 
     The FOIC appealed the decision of the superior court sustaining the plaintiff’s appeal of the FOIC’s decision ordering disclosure of certain peer review records.  The plaintiff claimed such records were exempt from disclosure pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §19a-17b(d), which provides that “the proceedings of a medical review committee conducting a peer review shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil action for or against a health care provider…”  The Supreme Court reversed the superior court’s decision, concluding that the exemption in Conn. Gen. Stat. §19a-17b(d) does not apply to the records at issue because a proceeding before the FOIC is not a “civil action”, as that term is used in the statute.
 




 
 
     Bradshaw Smith appealed to the Superior Court claiming that the FOIC had incorrectly concluded that the meetings of personnel search committees for the positions of Principal of Windsor High School and the Windsor Director of Library Services were exempt from the notice requirements of the FOI Act because the positions were of an executive level.  The court ruled that the FOIC’s definition of “executive level employment” was “time tested and reasonable” and upheld the decision that notice of the meetings were not required under the FOI Act. 
 
 



The Winton Park Association, Inc. v. Freedom of Information Commission and Jay Fain, HHB-CV08-4019339S (October 7, 2009), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.
 
 
     The Winton Park Association appealed from a final decision of the Commission concluding that the plaintiff is a public agency within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-200(1)(A), and further concluding that the plaintiff violated the FOI Act in failing to comply with the Act’s access to meetings and records requirements.  The Court also concluded that the Association violated the FOI Act by refusing to disclose to Jay Fain the records he requested unless he was accompanied by his attorney.  The Court concluded that the FOIC acted within its discretion in ordering the Association to reimburse Mr. Fain for the cost of retaining his attorney in order to have access to public records.  The court noted that the Commission was “authorized to grant full relief to Fain by providing that his attorney should be reimbursed for his time in obtaining the requested records.” 
 
 



 
Town of North Stonington et al. v. Freedom of Information Commission and Peter Sachs, HHB-CV09-4020018S; HHB-CV09-4019783S; HHB-CV09-4020033S; HHB-CV09-40200001S; CV09-4019448S (Nov. 2, 2009), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn J.
 
 
     The Supreme Court ruled that Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-217 requires town assessors to redact the home addresses of certain designated public officials and employees when making a grand list available for public inspection. The Court's decision reversed the decision of the superior court which had held that the so-called “address exemption” in Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-217 does not authorize redactions to North Stonington’s Motor Vehicle Grand List. 
 
 




Content Last Modified on 2/5/2013 2:36:06 PM