University of Connecticut Health Center v. Freedom of Information Commission
"By using the nearly synonymous words 'preliminary' and 'draft,' the legislation makes it very evident that preparatory materials are not required to be disclosed," pursuant to Shew v. Freedom of Information Commission, a 1998 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. Priscilla Dickman requested that the University of Connecticut Health Center furnish any e-mails between May 2004 and January 2010 that mentioned Dickman. In February 2010, Dickman filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission, alleging that UConn Health Center refused to respond to her request. In or about April 2010, UConn Health Center provided 141 pages of records and claimed that certain records were exempt from disclosure. The Freedom of Information Commission found that UConn Health Center violated the Freedom of Information Act, because it redacted or failed to furnish intra-agency records that were not preliminary drafts of memoranda. UConn Health Center appealed to the Superior Court and argued that certain records qualified as preliminary drafts. The parties agreed to bifurcate the appeal. A preliminary draft or note is something that is: 1.) preparatory; 2.) not a complete resolution of the matter; 3.) not pertinent to the eventual end product of the record; and 4.) takes the form of deliberation over a matter. The court reviewed the pertinent documents in part of the appeal in camera. It found that the documents were "final, non-deliberative matters," and it dismissed the appeal.