Connecticut Humane Society v. FOIC was a case before the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1991 concerning the applicability of the open records law to non-profit corporations.
This case affirmed the decisions in Board of Trustees of Woodstock Academy v. FOIC and Hallas v. FOIC.
- Julie Lewin filed a complaint against the Connecticut Humane Society with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission alleging that the Humane Society's refusal to announce meetings constituted a violation of the Connecticut Open Meetings Law and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.
- The Humane Society rejected the complaint and the request claiming that it was not a public body and thus not subject to the law.
- The FOIC conducted a hearing and determined that the Humane Society was in fact a public body.
- The Humane Society appealed the decision and the trial court overruled the FOIC and determined that the society was not a public body subject to the law.
- FOIC appealed the decision.
Ruling of the court
The FOIC ruled in favor of Lewin and determined that the society was in fact a public body because it functioned within a capacity outlined by state statute.
However, the trial court overturned this decision, stating that because the Humane Society did not receive public funds, it could not be considered a public body.
The Supreme Court went on to affirm the decision of the trial court, determining that the Humane Society was not a public body subject to the freedom of information act. First and foremost, citing Board of Trustees of Woodstock Academy v. FOIC, the court determined that the trial court erred in only analyzing one factor as opposed to all four. It went on to establish that while the Humane Society did serve a quasi-governmental function in that it aided in police efforts to prevent animal cruelty, it failed the remaining 3 prongs of the test because it received no government funds, was not regulated or controlled by the government and was privately incorporated (even though the state legislature approved its incorporation in 1881, a common practice then). Based on these three failures, the court determined that the Humane Society was not a public body and was therefor not subject to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.