9730024, Isler - Ruling

Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, : ex rel. Jacqueline Isler, Complainant
CHRO # 9730024 Yale-New Haven Hospital, Respondent
March 3, 1999

Ruling on Discovery Motions

I.     Procedural Background

On September 25, 1998 both the Commission and the Respondent served discovery requests. The Commission served a list of 20 requests for production on the Respondent and the Respondent served a list of 11 interrogatories and 21 requests for production on the Complainant. On November 16, 1998 the Commission filed a response to the Respondent’s Requests for Production and an Objection to the Respondent’s Request for Interrogatories with a supporting memorandum of law in support thereof. Also on November 16, 1998 the Respondent filed Objections and Answers to the Commission’s Production Requests. On January 15, 1999 the Respondent filed a Reply to the Commission’s Objections to Interrogatories and Requests for Production. Also on January 15, 1999 the Commission filed a Motion to Compel Responses to the Commission’s Request for Disclosure and Production of September 25, 1998.

II.     Commission’s Productions Requests

The respondent will produce the documents which respond to production requests ##1-7.

The objections to production requests ##8-20 are OVERRULED and the Respondent will produce any documents which so respond.

III.     Respondent’s Production Requests

It appears from the record that the Complainant has produced documents which respond to the Respondent’s production requests ##1, 3- 8, 11-13, 17, 18 and 21.

The objections to production requests #2, 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16 are OVERRULED and the Complainant will produce any documents which so respond.

With regard to production request #19, the Complainant will request a copy of her unemployment records and workers compensation records for the period 1990 to the present and will provide copies to the Respondent promptly.

The objection to production request #20 is granted because the information is already provided in response to production request #2.

IV.    Respondent’s Interrogatories

The issue is whether there is authority for parties in an administrative proceeding to serve interrogatories as a form of discovery. I find that there is not.

The express statutory grant of authority for discovery in administrative proceedings is set forth in General Statutes Section 4-177c of the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (UAPA) which states in pertinent part,

"[i]n a contested case, each party and the agency conducting the proceeding shall be afforded the opportunity to (1) inspect and copy relevant material records, papers and documents not in the possession of the party or such agency, except as otherwise provided by federal law or any other provision of the general statutes . . . . "

The clear language of this statute indicates that only document inspection and production is contemplated for administrative proceedings. There is no general due process right to prehearing discovery in an administrative proceeding. Pet v. Department of Health Services, 207 Conn. 346, 356 (1988).

Absent an express statutory provision, the discovery available in an administrative proceeding is determined by the rules of the particular agency. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 746 F.2d 1383, 1387 (9th Cir. 1984) cited in Pet. The rules of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities are set forth in the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. The sections of the Regulations concerning contested case proceedings, section 46a-54-90 to 46a-54-111, do not specifically provide for interrogatories. The only specific provision concerning discovery is section 46a-54-98 which states,

"[f]or complaints filed after July 1, 1989, every party and his representative shall have the right to inspect and copy relevant and material records, papers and documents not in the possession of the party or such agency, unless otherwise provided by federal law or any other provision of the general statutes."

This regulation parallels the language used in the UAPA and in no way broadens the scope of discovery to include interrogatories.

Respondent argues that because the word discovery is used in section 46a-54-96 of the Regulations that interrogatories should be allowed. The word discovery is included in this section in a list of topics which may be discussed at the initial hearing conference. This authority must be confined within the bounds of his or her specific authority. The Presiding Officer does not have the authority to order discovery outside that specifically allowed for in the statutes and regulations.

For the foregoing reasons, the Respondent’s Interrogatories are not allowed in an administrative proceeding and the Commission’s Objection to the Interrogatories is SUSTAINED.

V.    Conclusion and Order

The Complainant, Commission and the Respondent will produce the documents required in concurrence with the findings of this ruling by March 31, 1999.

It is so ORDERED.

Dated at Hartford, this _____ day of March, 1999.


Hon. Lara L. Manzione
Presiding Human Rights Referee