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Final Decision FIC2014-147
In the Matter of a Complaint by
FINAL DECISION
Marissa Lowthert,
     Complainant
     against
Docket #FIC 2014-147
Superintendent of Schools, Wilton
Public Schools; and Wilton
Public Schools,
     Respondents
February 25, 2015

     The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on November 24, 2014, and January 7, 2015, at which times the complainant and the respondents appeared and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.  For purposes of hearing, this matter was consolidated with Docket #FIC 2014-148, Marissa Lowthert v. Superintendent of Schools, Wilton Public Schools; and Wilton Public Schools and Docket #FIC 2014-160, Marissa Lowthert v. Superintendent of Schools, Wilton Public Schools; and Wilton Public Schools.
     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 email dated February 11, 2014, the complainant requested from the respondents a copy of a state statute1  and a written policy of the Wilton Public Schools2.

1
The complainant requested a "copy of Connecticut Statute (or statute citation) WPS staff claim require the completion of the 'Transfer of Confidential Information' (ie full HIPPA Release)."


2
The complainant requested a "copy of WPS Policy requiring completion of 'Transfer of Confidential Information' (ie full HIPPA Release)."

     3.  It is found that, by email dated February 28, 2014, the complainant followed up on her request, stating that she had not yet received the records she requested.   
     4.  It is found that, by letter dated March 7, 2014, the respondents provided the complainant with a copy of a state regulation and informed her that they did not maintain any other records responsive to her request.    
     5.  By email dated March 12, 2014 and filed March 13, 2014, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information (“FOI”) Act by failing to comply with the request for records, described in paragraph 2, above. 
     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 or . . . (3) receive a copy of such records in accordance with section 1-212.
     8.  Section 1-212(a), G.S., provides in relevant part that “[a]ny person applying in writing shall receive, promptly upon request, a plain, facsimile, electronic or certified copy of any public record.”
     9.  It is found that the records responsive to the requests, described in paragraph 2, above, to the extent they are maintained by the respondents, are public records within the meaning of §§1-200(5) and 1-210(a), G.S.
     10. It is also found, however, that the respondents do not maintain the records described in paragraph 2, above.
     11. At the hearing in this matter, the complainant argued that the respondents did not respond to her promptly.  However, the FOI Act requires that public agencies provide copies of public records promptly.  Because the respondents do not maintain records responsive to the complainant’s request, they were not obligated to respond.  Bradshaw Smith v. Freedom of Information Commission, docket no. HHB-CV-11-5015510S (August 30, 2012), N.B. Superior Court, Cohn, J.3   Thus, the complainant’s argument is misplaced.

3
A copy of this decision is available on the Commission's website.
     12. Accordingly, it is concluded that the respondents did not violate the FOI Act as alleged in the complaint.
     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 February 25, 2015.
__________________________
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:
Marissa Lowthert
90 Keelers Ridge
Wilton, CT  06897
Superintendent of Schools, Wilton Public Schools;
and Wilton Public Schools
c/o Anne H. Littlefield, Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
One Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT  06103
and
Jessica Richman Smith, Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
300 Atlantic Street
3rd Floor
Stamford, CT  06801

____________________________
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission

FIC/2014-147/FD/cac/2/25/2015