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Final Decision FIC2013-422
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Edward Peruta,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2013-422
Reuben Bradford, Commissioner,
State of Connecticut, Department
of Emergency Services and Public
Protection; and State of Connecticut,
Department of Emergency Services
and Public Protection,
     Respondents
March 26, 2014

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on February 3, 2014, at which time the complainant and the respondents appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint. 

     After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found and conclusions of law are reached:
     1.  The respondents are public agencies within the meaning of §1-200(1), G.S.
     2.  It is found that by e-mail dated June 13, 2013, the complainant made a request to inspect any video, audio, or 911 recordings related to an incident that occurred on June 8, 2013, at the Saveway baseball field in the town of Brooklyn at approximately 12:30 p.m.
     3.  It is found that, on or before June 17, 2013, the respondents informed the complainant that his request had been received.
     4.  It is found that, by e-mail dated July 10, 2013, the complainant asked the respondents to inform him whether or not the requested records exist and to cite any exemptions to their disclosure.
     5.  By e-mail also dated July 10, 2013, the complainant appealed to this Commission alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to promptly comply with his request for access to inspect the requested public records.  The complainant requested the imposition of a civil penalty.
     6.  Section 1-200(5), G.S., provides:
"Public records or files" means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
     7.  Section 1-210(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that:
Except as otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute, all records maintained or kept on file by any public agency, whether or not such records are required by any law or by any rule or regulation, shall be public records and every person shall have the right to (1) inspect such records promptly during regular office or business hours....
     8.  It is found that the requested records are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5), and 1-210(a), G.S. 
     9.  It is found that by e-mail dated July 16, 2013, the respondents informed the complainant that a Motor Vehicle Report exists but because the records pertained to a pending prosecution, no records would be disclosed at that time and cited §1-210(b)(3)(C), G.S., as the applicable exemption.
     10. It is also found that, although the respondents’ e-mail, described in paragraph 9, above, was meant to deny the complainant access to any and all records responsive his request, they did not inform the complainant specifically that 911 recordings related to the incident described in paragraph 2, above, may exist until the hearing on this matter.  It is found that respondents learned that there may be 911 recordings from a report that was not read until January 30, 2014.
     11. At the hearing on this matter, the complainant stated that his complaint was specifically that the respondents failed to tell him in a timely manner that 911 recordings existed which he attributed to the respondent department’s policy and procedures regarding FOI requests that caused an undue delay in providing complete and accurate responses his requests for access to records.  The complainant stated, repeatedly, that he accepted the respondents’ claim of exemption but sought a decision from this Commission on their failure to provide a complete, accurate and timely response, which he asserts should have included the fact that the 911 records existed.
     12. Consequently, the issue before the Commission is limited to the respondents’ alleged failure to promptly provide the complainant with a response that detailed which records responsive to his request existed.
     13. It is found, however, that in this regard, the complainant has not alleged a violation of the FOI Act and no further action will be taken by this Commission.
     14. Therefore, the complainant’s request for a civil penalty will not be considered.
     The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:
     1. The complaint is hereby dismissed.

Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of March 26, 2014.
__________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

PURSUANT TO SECTION 4-180(c), G.S., THE FOLLOWING ARE THE NAMES OF EACH PARTY AND THE MOST RECENT MAILING ADDRESS, PROVIDED TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION, OF THE PARTIES OR THEIR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE.
THE PARTIES TO THIS CONTESTED CASE ARE:
Edward Peruta
c/o Rachel Baird, Esq.
8 Church Street
Torrington, CT  06790
Reuben Bradford, Commissioner, State of
Connecticut, Department of Emergency
Services and Public Protection; and State of
Connecticut, Department of Emergency
Services and Public Protection
c/o Steven M. Barry, Esq.
Matthew B. Beizer, Esq.
Assistant Attorneys General
State of Connecticut,
Office of the Attorney General
110 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT  06105

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission/

FIC/2013-422/FD/cac/3/26/2014