Peruta v. Mancini
The promptness requirement of C.G.S. §1-210(a) does not include any right to discuss or negotiate with representatives of public agencies concerning compliance with pending records requests. On May 10, 2011, Edward Peruta and the American News and Information Services, Inc. appealed to the Freedom of Information Commission alleging that the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of State Police and Sergeant Seth Mancini violated the Freedom of Information Act by denying prompt access to records requested on May 2, 2011. The FOIC found that the request was made five days after Peruta walked out of a FOIC hearing on a prior request. The May 2nd request sought certain records created by five individuals regarding "firearms, permits, appeals, staff assignments" or suggestions on appointments to the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners. The board was a party to pending litigation and the records implicated exemptions from mandatory disclosure. On May 4, 2011, Peruta called an attorney at the department regarding the status of the request. Mancini responded. On May 13, 2011, Mancini responded to Peruta's email indicating that 20 to 30 pages of responsive records were available for review. Peruta inspected the records on May 31, 2011 when 300 to 400 pages were disclosed. The complainants contended that they should have had a response on the same business day as their request and that the respondents did not present anyone with whom Peruta could discuss the request. The FOIC concluded that given the totality of the circumstances including the compilation of a substantial body of records from multiple sources and legal review of those records for various exemptions, the provision of a few records in 11 days and the balance in 29 days from the request was "prompt" within the meaning of C.G.S. §1-210(a). The promptness requirement of C.G.S. §1-210(a) does not include any right to discuss or negotiate with representatives of public agencies concerning compliance with pending records requests. While such discussions are often beneficial for both parties, a public agency has the right to decide that it does not choose to have its representative discuss or negotiate a pending request with a given requestor.