Mark Sommaruga

Mark Sommaruga

Pullman & Comley, LLC

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Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may...more

8/19/2016 - Cell Phones Fees FOIA FOIC Inspection Rights Photographs Public Agencies Public Records School Districts

Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA (Part Three): Trying To Do The Right Thing Is A Good Thing Under The FOIA

In our latest posting on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], we confirm that the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has a heart, and may sometimes forgive technical non-compliance by public agencies and their...more

7/27/2016 - Administrative Proceedings Board of Supervisors FOIA FOIC Public Agencies School Districts

Coming to a workplace near you: “legal” bi-weekly pay, direct deposit and pay cards

A prominent portion of Connecticut workplaces provide payment to employees via a bi-weekly pay check, with the weekly pay check almost an anachronism. In addition, many workplaces pay their employees by “direct deposit” of...more

7/21/2016 - Deposit Accounts DOL New Legislation Payroll Cards Payroll Periods Payroll Records Wage and Hour

Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds And The FOIA (Part Two): Can You See My Notes (And Calendar)?

For those who still cannot get enough after my latest post on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], here are more nuggets from the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. Today, we focus on written notes and calendar...more

7/7/2016 - Discovery FOIA FOIC Personal Exemptions Privacy Concerns Public Agencies Public Policy Workplace Investigations

Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA: More Interesting Cases From The FOIC (Part One)

Dropping thermometers did not diminish the heated action occurring before Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. It should also go without saying that the accompanying snow, ice and other perils of winter...more

6/14/2016 - FOIA FOIC Open Meetings Act Public Meetings

Arbitrators Have The Right To Be Wrong: The Second Circuit Speaks About “Deflategate” (And What’s Next)

When we last wrote about “Deflategate”, Tom Brady, the National Football League Players Association [“NFLPA”] and New England Patriots fans were basking in the glory of the reversal of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s...more

5/25/2016 - Appeals Arbitrators Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) Deflategate New England Patriots NFL Standard of Review Tom Brady Work Suspensions

Transgender Student Issues – The FEDs Speak, But Is It Really News In Connecticut?

On May 13, 2016, with much fanfare, the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education jointly issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” [“DCL”] in order to provide guidance for school districts with...more

5/24/2016 - Colleges Dear Colleague Letter Department of Education DOJ FERPA Gender Identity Public Schools School Restrooms Sexual Orientation Discrimination Student Athletes Students Title IX Transgender Universities

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Labor and Public Employees Committee Speaks: March 2016

The General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee was active before its March 17, 2016 deadline for approving bills, voting favorably and advancing many bills out of committee....more

3/31/2016 - Coaches Disability Insurance Fair Chance Act General Assembly Minimum Wage Prevailing Wages Unemployment Compensation System Wage and Hour Workers Compensation Act Working Conditions

So You Need A New Board Member: Legal Concerns When Filling Vacancies

For better or worse, elected municipal officials (such as school board members) are sometimes unable to complete their term of office, and thus boards of education are faced with having to fill vacancies. Here is a brief...more

3/23/2016 - Administrative Resignation Board of Education Board Vacancies Municipalities Policies and Procedures Public School Boards

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 25th Public Hearing

On Thursday, February 25, 2016, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct a public hearing on several proposed bills. One of the bills to be discussed would prevent employers from requiring job...more

2/22/2016 - Criminal Background Checks General Assembly Legislative Agendas Payroll Cards Public Hearing

What Can Schools Expect from the 2016 Connecticut General Assembly Session?

On February 3, 2016, the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began. Adjournment is scheduled for May 4, 2016. One can assume that a plethora of proposed bills affecting Connecticut school districts will be...more

2/18/2016 - Data Privacy Education Budget General Assembly Legislative Committees Proposed Legislation Special Education Teachers

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 16th Public Hearing

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following proposed bills...more

2/15/2016 - General Assembly Hiring & Firing Legislative Committees Proposed Legislation Public Hearing Sick Leave Wage and Hour Working Conditions

What Can Employers Expect from the 2016 Connecticut General Assembly Session?

On February 3, 2016, the 2016 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began. The session is scheduled to adjourn on May 4, 2016. Numerous proposed bills affecting Connecticut employers and employees will be unleashed...more

2/12/2016 - FMLA General Assembly Legislative Agendas Prevailing Wages Workers Compensation Reform Workplace Bullying

Attorneys Are Not So Special After All: The FOIA and the Need for Specific Agenda Items

Generally, Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] requires that a public agency preparing an agenda/posting for a meeting ensure that each agenda item is specific enough to apprise the public of the action...more

1/21/2016 - Attorney-Client Privilege Board of Education FOIA Legislative Agendas Public Agencies Public Meetings

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of School District in Building Project Referendum Challenge: Substance Trumps Form

School districts often find themselves in the precarious position of having to rely upon the outcome of a referendum for passage of a budget or building project while simultaneously having no control over the conduct of the...more

12/7/2015 - CT Supreme Court Local Elections Notice Requirements Public School Boards Referendum Votes School Districts

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...more

11/10/2015 - Attorney-Client Privilege FOIA FOIC Public Meetings Public Records

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...more

9/8/2015 - Charter Schools CMOs FOIA FOIC Governor Malloy New Legislation Transparency

When Going to Work is Work: McMorris v. New Haven and the Workers’ Compensation Act

Generally speaking, our workers’ compensation laws provide certain benefits for injuries arising out of or in the course of employment. Certain employees (police officers and firefighters) are referred to as “portal to...more

8/27/2015 - Commuting Employer Liability Issues Police Workers Compensation Act Workers' Compensation Claim

Texts, Lies and Footballs: Tom Brady, “Deflategate,” and What’s Next?

Since we last discussed “Deflategate,” New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady appealed his four-game suspension resulting from the NFL’s finding that he had committed “conduct detrimental to the league,” based on 1) his...more

8/4/2015 - Appeals Arbitration Awards Cell Phones Collective Bargaining Destruction of Evidence Discipline Injunctions Internal Investigations Irreparable Harm LMRA New England Patriots NFL Popular Spoliation Sports Work Suspensions

The Aftermath: Developments From The 2015 Session of The Connecticut General Assembly Affecting Schools

The 2015 session of the Connecticut General Assembly has just concluded. A comprehensive summary and discussion of laws that were passed during the 2015 session will be forthcoming from this firm after the Governor has acted...more

6/30/2015 - Charter Schools Department of Education Public Schools Social Media Policy Special Education Students Teachers

Lessons For The NFL And Employers From “Deflategate”

To begin with, full disclosure: I am a lifelong New England Patriots fan (and season ticket holder). However, as an attorney I am trained to be objective. The aftermath of the “Deflategate” investigation should be of...more

6/22/2015 - Deflategate Disciplinary Proceedings Discipline Discrimination Football NFL

The Aftermath: Developments From The 2015 Session of The Connecticut General Assembly Affecting The Workplace

The 2015 session of the Connecticut General Assembly has just concluded. The following is a concise description of employment-related bills that were passed by the General Assembly that may be of interest. A more...more

6/19/2015 - Agricultural Workers Domestic Workers DUI Harassment Internships Municipal Employees Police Social Media State Employees Trucking Industry Unemployment Benefits Unions Veterans Wages

Another Reason to Report Suspected Abuse or Neglect to DCF: Lawrence V. Weiner

We have repeatedly cautioned that those employees who are required by law to make reports to the Department of Children and Families [“DCF”] of suspected child abuse and neglect should always err on the side of caution and,...more

6/10/2015 - Child Abuse Defamation Department of Children and Families (DCF) Educational Institutions Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act Immunity Reporting Requirements Teachers

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