Connelly v. Department of Correction
A court can dismiss an inmate's complaint against a state agency, if the inmate fails to prove that he filed the appeal and served the state agency within 45 days of the underlying decision, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §4-183(c). The plaintiff inmate, William Connelly, filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission, alleging that the Department of Correction violated the Freedom of Information Act. The commission dismissed the plaintiff's complaint and mailed its decision to the plaintiff on Feb. 14, 2012. The plaintiff filed a request for a waiver of fees and filed the appeal on March 26, 2012. The Freedom of Information Commission received the plaintiff's appeal, on or about April 4, 2012. The commission moved to dismiss and argued that the plaintiff failed to serve the commission timely, within 45 days of the date that the commission's decision was mailed to the plaintiff. C.G.S. §4-183(c) provides, "Within forty-five days after mailing of the final decision under section 4-180 . . . a person appealing as provided in this section shall serve a copy of the appeal on the agency that rendered the final decision at its office or at the office of the Attorney General in Hartford and file the appeal with the clerk of the superior court. . . ." The court found that the 45th day was March 30, 2012. Service takes place when the appeal is deposited in the mail. The plaintiff maintained that he "mailed" the appeal when he handed it to a prison counselor. The court found that the plaintiff failed to prove that the appeal was mailed to the Freedom of Information Commission, on or before March 30. "[T]he failure of the plaintiff to prove that he actually deposited the appeal in the mail on March 30," wrote the court, "is grounds to find a lack of compliance with §4-183(c)." The court granted the Freedom of Information Commission's motion to dismiss.