Final Decision FIC2012-538
In the Matter of a Complaint by
||Docket #FIC 2012-538|
Superintendent of Schools,
Middletown Public Schools;
and Middletown Public Schools,
May 8, 2013
On March 14, 2013, the respondents moved to dismiss this matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The complainant filed an objection to such motion on March 16, 2013.
This matter was heard as a contested case on March 19, 2013, at which time the complainant and respondents appeared, and presented testimony and argument on the motion to dismiss.
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 on or about May 7, 2012, and May 8, 2012, the complainant made a
request to the respondents for a list of the number of verified acts of bullying maintained by the Middletown Public Schools since 2003.
3. By letter received and filed by the Commission on October 3, 2012, the complainant appealed to this Commission, alleging that the respondents violated the Freedom of Information ("FOI”) Act by failing to provide him with copies of the records, described in paragraph 2, above, which each school is required to maintain pursuant to §10-223d, G.S.
4. On or about November 2, 2012, the Commission notified the complainant that his correspondence received on October 3rd, described in paragraph 3, above, would not be scheduled for a hearing because the complainant had not filed his complaint within thirty days of the alleged violation pursuant to §1-206, G.S. The Commission also informed the complainant that no further action would be taken on the complaint at that time. However, if he nevertheless wished to pursue his complaint, the Commission requested that the complainant provide a written response within two weeks’ time.
5. Subsequently, by letter dated November 6, 2012, the complainant submitted a response to the Commission’s November 2nd correspondence, described in paragraph 4, above. The complainant’s November 6th letter to the Commission indicated that he received a written response from the respondent Superintendent on October 19, 2012, including a list of the number of verified acts of bullying in the Middletown Public Schools that appeared to be incomplete, inaccurate and misleading. In his November 6th letter, the complainant further requested that the Commission assist him in obtaining the entire statistical list of verified acts of bullying. The November 6th letter did not contain information regarding whether the complainant had made a follow-up request or was denied access to records within 30 days prior to the filing of his complaint.
6. The respondents contend that the Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction in this
matter since the complaint was not timely filed.
7. Section 1-206, G.S., provides, in pertinent part that:
(b)(1) Any person denied the right to inspect or copy records under
section 1-210 or wrongfully denied the right to attend any meeting of a
public agency or denied any other right conferred by the Freedom of
Information Act may appeal therefrom to the Freedom of Information
Commission, by filing a notice of appeal with said commission. A notice
of appeal shall be filed not later than thirty days after such denial....
8. At the hearing, the complainant testified that he has made repeated requests to the
Middletown Public Schools for the records described in paragraph 2, above. However, no evidence was provided by the complainant as to whether such records requests were made to or denied by the respondents within 30 days prior to the filing of his complaint with the Commission on October 3, 2012.
9. It is found that the notice of appeal in this matter was filed more than thirty
days after the alleged denial of the request described in paragraph 2, within the meaning of §1-206, G.S. Accordingly, it is concluded that the Commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction in this matter.
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 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Approved by Order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of May 8, 2013.
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:
17 Afton Terrace
Middletown, CT 06457
Superintendent of Schools, Middletown Public School; and Middletown Public Schools
c/o Anne H. Littlefield, Esq.
Shipman & Goodwin, LLP
One Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103-1919
Cynthia A. Cannata
Acting Clerk of the Commission