Topic: The Freedom of Information Act

FOIA is FUN: Somewhat Recent Reminders from the Freedom Of Information Commission

Although it is known as the “Sunshine Law,” the idea of summer fun is usually not synonymous with the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”]. Nevertheless, as we lament the passing of time (and loss of daylight), Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] issued intriguing decisions during the summer that provide teachable moments, such as the…

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The FOIA, Charter Schools and “Charter Management Organizations:” The FOIC and the Legislature (Sort Of) Speak

As noted previously, the intersection between Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] and charter schools has been the source of much noise. Notwithstanding some shrill voices, charter schools have always been subject to the FOIA.  The lingering issue has been whether “charter school management organizations” (e.g., entities some charter schools contract with for educational design, implementation,…

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Everything That You Ever Wanted to Know About The Attorney-Client Privilege and The FOIA But Were Afraid to Ask: The Latest

As a self-described FOIA nerd, I have written in these pages about issues pertaining to the effect of the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] on the attorney-client privilege (and vice versa).  In a plethora of recent decisions, the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has provided further guidance on these issues. Briefly, the FOIA exempts from its…

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Presidential Politics, E-Mail, And The FOIA: Why It Should Matter To You

The federal Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] has recently made its way into national new stories for all the wrong reasons.  Hillary Clinton has become enmeshed in a controversy involving her use of a “private” e-mail account for conducting official business.  In addition, in a development that can charitably be described as ironic, the White House…

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When a Meeting is Not a Meeting, at Least According to the FOIC

Most public entities are now intimately familiar with the long reach of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) into the conduct of agency meetings.  A recent case from the Freedom of Information Commission (“FOIC”) reminds us that whether a “meeting” that has occurred must comply with the FOIA, is more than just an existential question,…

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Let’s Go To The Videotape: Can School Security Videos Be Subject To Disclosure Under FOIA?

School districts usually deny requests to view school video recordings, such as security tapes, in light of concerns about the privacy rights of students featured on these recordings. In a recent decision, the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] threw us all a curveball in ordering disclosure of a school video recording. In Lambeck v. Chairman,…

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Attorneys Michael McKeon, Mark Sommaruga and Zachary Schurin To Speak at 2014 CABE/CAPSS Convention

Pullman & Comley School Law attorneys Michael McKeon, Zachary D. Schurin and Mark Sommaruga will speak at the annual Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) 2014 convention, the theme of which is: “Public Education in 2027: Courageous Leadership Teams.” In the Section B Workshop, Mark —…

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How to Respond to FOIA Requests For Overall Teacher Summative Ratings?

It has come to our attention that certain school districts in Connecticut have already received requests under the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] for access to overall district and school level summative ratings of all teachers evaluated by the districts in the 2013-14 school year.  By way of background, all Connecticut school districts are required…

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Use Of Police Reports By School District In The Aftermath Of The Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling

Police reports are a practical tool for school districts in investigating (and countering) both student and employee misconduct.   The Connecticut Supreme Court has resolved an intense debate about what law enforcement agencies are required to release with regard to arrest records and associated reports.  In agreeing to uphold limits to disclosure of such records, the…

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Loose Lips Sink Ships: The Limits of the Attorney-Client Privilege and the Dangers of “Public” Reliance Upon Your Attorney’s Opinions

Public agencies often secure opinions from legal counsel to guide their actions. However, these agencies should be aware that what they say in public about the advice given may jeopardize the confidentiality of the legal opinion. In Cragg v. First Selectman Town of Marlborough, #FIC 2013-452 (May 28, 2014), a citizen requested a copy of…

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