Mark Sommaruga

Mark Sommaruga

Pullman & Comley, LLC

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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...more

5/8/2015 - Attorney-Client Privilege Board of Education FOIA Public Schools School Districts

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...more

4/24/2015 - Email FOIA Public Entities

Latest Developments From The Connecticut General Assembly: The Education Committee Completes its Work

The General Assembly’s Education Committee was quite active just before its March 30, 2015 deadline for approving bills. On March 25, 2015, the Education Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee the...more

4/13/2015 - Education Reform Legislative Committees Pending Legislation

Common Sense Prevails: Arbitration Award OK’ing On-Duty Drug Usage Overturned

In the world of labor arbitration, common sense sometimes takes a holiday. Fortunately, a Superior Court judge recently overturned an arbitrator’s attempt at second guessing an employer’s response to serious misconduct...more

3/27/2015 - Adverse Employment Action Arbitration Drug & Alcohol Abuse Hiring & Firing Marijuana Reversal Unions Willful Misconduct

Latest Developments From The Connecticut General Assembly: The Education Committee Passes More Bills

On March 18, 2015, the General Assembly’s Education Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee the following proposed bills...more

3/27/2015 - Educational Institutions Legislative Agendas Public Schools

Latest Developments From The Connecticut General Assembly: March 19 Public Hearing

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, the General Assembly’s Education Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following proposed bills...more

3/17/2015 - Administrative Hearings Education Reform General Assembly Pending Legislation Public Meetings

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: March 11 Public Hearing

As promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. On Wednesday, March 11, 2015, the General Assembly’s Education Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following...more

3/10/2015 - General Assembly Proposed Legislation

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: March 3 and 6 Public Hearings

As promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. A. On Tuesday, March 3, 2015, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct a public...more

3/5/2015 - Legislative Agendas Proposed Legislation Public Meetings Wage and Hour

Common Core Redux: Is There a Solution To The “Opt Out” Debate?

Almost exactly a year ago, my colleagues Michael P. McKeon and Zachary D. Schurin penned a piece on this blog that explored the deceptively simple question of whether parents could “legally” opt their children out of the...more

2/26/2015 - Opt-Outs Proficiency Testing Public School Boards Public Schools School Districts

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 24 and 26 Public Hearings

As we promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. A. On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee will conduct an “off...more

2/25/2015 - Municipalities Prevailing Wages Public Employees Wage and Hour Wages

Developments in Pregnancy Discrimination Law: UPS, EEOC, and I

Readers of this blog have seen several posts on the topic of pregnancy discrimination. In the last couple of weeks, the following additional developments concerning the topic have occurred...more

2/9/2015 - Discrimination EEOC Employer Liability Issues FMLA PDA Pregnancy Discrimination UPS Young v United Parcel Service

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: February 5, 2015 Committee Meeting

As we promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. The following is an update as to where we stand on labor and employment related legislation....more

2/9/2015 - Legislative Agendas Legislative Committees Pending Legislation

Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: January 29 Public Hearing

As we promised previously, we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the General Assembly. The following is an update as to where we stand on labor and employment related legislation....more

1/30/2015 - Employer Liability Issues Employer Mandates Legislative Agendas Proposed Legislation

What Can Schools Expect from this Connecticut General Assembly Session?

On January 7, 2015, the 2015 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began. Adjournment is scheduled for June 3, 2015. We can expect that a plethora of proposed bills affecting Connecticut school districts will be...more

1/22/2015 - Charter Schools Legislative Agendas Magnet Schools Proficiency Testing Proposed Legislation Public Schools Special Education

Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney to Focus on Discrimination in Schools

Educational institutions – including public and private schools, colleges, and universities – may have to defend various types of discrimination claims brought by students, and in various arenas. In addition to federal court...more

1/15/2015 - Attorney Generals Colleges Department of Education Discrimination DOJ Educational Institutions OCR Title IX Universities Working Groups

What Can Employers Expect from this Connecticut General Assembly Session?

On January 7, 2015, the 2015 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began. The session is scheduled to adjourn on June 3, 2015. A plethora of proposed bills affecting Connecticut employers and employees will be...more

1/14/2015 - Legislative Agendas Proposed Legislation

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...more

12/2/2014 - Board of Education Meeting Email FOIA Public Entities

The Obligation to Make Reports to DCF and Unemployment Compensation: Another Penalty For Failing to Notify DCF

Our state has a comprehensive requirement for certain employees (particularly in the medical and educational spheres) to make reports to the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) of suspected child abuse and neglect. ...more

11/20/2014 - Child Abuse Employer Liability Issues Neglect Reporting Requirements Unemployment Benefits

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...more

11/13/2014 - Disclosure Employer Liability Issues FOIA FOIC Hiring & Firing Media Privacy Laws Public Schools School Districts Students Video Recordings

Sex, Lies, and The FOIA: Wotjas v. Town of Stonington and The Disclosure of Sexual Harassment Complaints, Regardless of “Guilt.”

This author wrote previously on the status of sexual harassment investigations under the Freedom of Information Act [”FOIA”]. In a case that has grabbed some notoriety; the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has...more

10/28/2014 - Employer Liability Issues FOIA FOIC Public Employees Public Employers Sexual Harassment

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

LR-hands-over-laptopkeysIt 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...more

10/28/2014 - FOIA Ratings School Districts

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...more

10/20/2014 - Department of Education FOIA Public Schools School Districts Teachers

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...more

9/29/2014 - Arrest and Conviction Records Disclosure Employer Liability Issues Law Enforcement School Districts Students Willful Misconduct

Residency and “Illegal Alien Status” Are Not Mutually Exclusive for School Accommodations: A Friendly Reminder From Washington...

It is worth remembering that when determining if someone is a resident of your school district, the fact that someone may not actually be a legal resident of this nation is irrelevant. In order to underscore this fact, the...more

9/24/2014 - Department of Education DOJ Non-Resident Aliens Public Schools Residency Requirements School Districts

Don’t Make Promises That You Cannot Keep: Greenwich Silver Shield Association v. Town of Greenwich, the FOIA and Discrimination...

Investigations in the public sector confront the competing demands of employee privacy rights and the public’s “right to know” under the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”]. Another decision by the Freedom of Information...more

9/23/2014 - Disclosure Requirements Discrimination Due Process Employer Liability Issues FOIA Harassment Internal Investigations Invasion of Privacy Law Enforcement Personnel Records Public Entities

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