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PR 17-37 Providence Journal v. Department of Administration and Office of Health and Human Services No Violation

Complainant alleged that the DOA and the OHHS violated the APRA when they failed to timely respond to or specifically deny her requests/correspondences. After reviewing the voluminous evidence in this matter, we found that the allegations concerned three interrelated but legally distinct correspondences. Because we found that none of these correspondences were addressed to the DOA, we found no violation with respect to DOA. With respect to the OHHS, we found that the first correspondence was treated as an APRA request and was tolled by a request for prepayment pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 38-2-7(b). It was undisputed that the Complainant did not tender the prepayment. With respect to the Complainant's second correspondence, we found that the nature of the request made during roughly ninety seconds of a free-flowing hour-long conversation was not susceptible to determination by this Department. Since we could not discern the nature of the second request, we could not find that OHHS's response violated the APRA. With respect to the Complainant's third correspondence, assuming that it was an APRA request, we noted that the Complainant filed her Complaint prior to the expiration of the OHHS' time to respond. We accordingly found that Complainant's allegations of violation were not ripe. Therefore, we found no violations. We were also advised and the Complainant did not contest this representation that subsequent to the filing of this complaint, the OHHS has provided all requested responsive documents.

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