Final Decision FIC2013-466
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2013-466|
Commissioner, State of Connecticut,
Department of Public Health; and
State of Connecticut, Department of
May 28, 2014
On February 4, 2014, the respondents moved to dismiss the above-captioned complaint on the ground that the Commission lacked jurisdiction pursuant to §§1-206(b)(2) and/or 1-206(b)(4) because the complainant was not requesting documents in the possession of the respondents. The complainant requested that the motion not be granted without a hearing for reasons including the complainant’s purchase of airline tickets to travel to the hearing from Florida, which request the hearing officer granted as a courtesy to the complainant. The above-captioned matter was consequently heard as a contested case on February 18, 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. By letter of complaint filed July 29, 2013, the complainant appealed to the Commission, alleging that the respondents failed to comply with his request that the respondents contact the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct, obtain documents from that Office, and turn those documents over to the complainant.
3. It is found that, by letter dated June 26, 2013, the complainant requested from the respondents documents pertaining to the revocation in 2001 of his license to practice medicine in New York State.
4. It is found that the respondents used some documentation of the complainant’s New York State license revocation in 2001 to deny respondent’s request for a reinstatement hearing in Connecticut in 2013.
5. The complainant takes issue with the fairness of the reinstatement hearing proceedings in Connecticut in 2013, objects to the use of only selected documentation by the respondents to deny a reinstatement hearing, and believes that the requested documents would support his position that his request for a reinstatement hearing was improperly denied by the Board in 2013.
6. It is found that the documents used by the respondents in opposing the request for a reinstatement hearing did not include the documents requested by the complainant, and that the respondents do not have possession of the requested documents.
7. The complainant nonetheless requests that the Commission order the respondents to obtain the requested documents from New York State officials and provide those documents to him.
8. 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.
9. 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, (2) copy such records in accordance with subsection (g) of section 1-212, or (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212. (Emphasis supplied).
10. Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part: “Any person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
11. It is found that the requested documents were not prepared, owned, used, received, retained, maintained or kept on file by the respondents.
12. It is therefore concluded that the requested documents are not public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) or 1-210(a), G.S.
13. The complainant believes that his discovery rights in the request for reinstatement hearing proceedings have been violated, and that those proceedings were fundamentally unfair.
14. It is concluded, however, that the respondents did not deny the complainant copies of or access to public records, and that the respondents therefore did not violate the FOI Act.
15. At the hearing, the complainant sought to enlarge his complaint to encompass additional documents not alleged to have been requested or denied in the complainant’s July 29, 2013 complaint or in any of the complainant’s subsequent addendums to that complaint. No evidence was presented at the hearing that these additional documents had been requested from, or denied by, the respondents. The request to enlarge the complaint is therefore denied.
The following order by the Commission is hereby recommended on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint.
1. The complaint is dismissed.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 28, 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:
345 Capitol Street
North Fort Myers, FL 33901
Commissioner, State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health;
and State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health
c/o Daniel Shapiro, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
State of Connecticut,
Office of the Attorney General
55 Elm Street
P.O. Box 120
Hartford, CT 06141-0120
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission