Albright-Lazzari v. Murphy
The Freedom of Information Commission does not abuse its discretion, when it dismisses a complaint after the complainant fails to attend a commission meeting, because of transportation difficulties. Kimberly Albright-Lazzari and Anthony Lazzari alleged that the Naugatuck police department refused to provide access to public records. The Freedom of Information Commission scheduled a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 28, 2010. Albright-Lazzari contacted the commission prior to the meeting and indicated she experienced transportation difficulty, because her motor vehicle had been towed, and that she was en route to the meeting. The commission's hearing officer recommended the dismissal of the Freedom of Information Act complaint, because the complainants failed to attend the meeting. The complainants did not take advantage of the opportunity to explain their transportation difficulty at an April 13, 2011, meeting, and the commission adopted the hearing officer's recommendation. In a separate docket, Kimberly Albright-Lazzari and Anthony Lazzari complained that the West Haven police department apparently failed to provide documents requested. The complainants did not attend a hearing scheduled for Nov. 5, 2010, and the commission dismissed the complaint. In another matter, Albright-Lazzari and Lazzari complained that the Department of Public Safety apparently failed to provide documents requested. The complainants failed to attend a hearing scheduled for April 25, 2011, because they continued to experience transportation difficulties, and the commission dismissed the complaint. Anthony Lazzari appealed to the Superior Court and argued that the dismissals of his Freedom of Information Act complaints violated his due-process rights. "In each case," wrote the Superior Court, "Lazarri received appropriate notice from the FOIC as required by §4-177(b) that the hearings would be held on a particular date." Lazzari had the opportunity to arrange transportation and to attend the meetings, except when his motor vehicle was towed prior to the meeting in October 2010. Lazarri did not take advantage of an opportunity to present oral argument to the Freedom of Information Commission, and to explain his transportation difficulties, at an April 13, 2011, meeting. The commission's decisions were not arbitrary, illegal or an abuse of discretion, and the court dismissed the appeals.