788 A.2d 255 (N.H. 2001), 2000-012, Hawkins v. New Hampshire Dept. of Health and Human Services

Docket Nº:2000-012.
Citation:788 A.2d 255, 147 N.H. 376
Party Name:Cassandra HAWKINS, v. NEW HAMPSHIRE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.
Attorney:New Hampshire Legal Assistance, of Portsmouth and Manchester (Kay E. Drought and Kenneth J. Barnes on the brief, and Ms.Drought orally), for the plaintiff., Philip T. McLaughlin, attorney general (Mary E. Schwarzer, assistant attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the defendant., Malloy ...
Case Date:December 31, 2001
Court:Supreme Court of New Hampshire
 
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788 A.2d 255 (N.H. 2001)

147 N.H. 376

Cassandra HAWKINS,

v.

NEW HAMPSHIRE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.

No. 2000-012.

Supreme Court of New Hampshire.

December 31, 2001.

Page 256

[147 N.H. 377] New Hampshire Legal Assistance, of Portsmouth and Manchester (Kay E. Drought and Kenneth J. Barnes on the brief, and Ms.Drought orally), for the plaintiff.

Philip T. McLaughlin, attorney general (Mary E. Schwarzer, assistant attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the defendant.

Malloy & Sullivan, P.C., of Manchester (Gregory V. Sullivan on the brief), for Union Leader Corporation, as amicus curiae.

Orr & Reno, P.A., of Concord (James P. Bassett on the brief), for Keene Publishing Corporation, as amicus curiae.

BROCK, C.J.

The plaintiff, Cassandra Hawkins, appeals a Superior Court (Coffey, J.) order dismissing her petition for declaratory and injunctive relief under the Right-to-Know Law, RSA ch. 91-A (2001 & Supp.2001), seeking access to certain records kept by the defendant, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We vacate and remand.

In 1998, the plaintiff's counsel, on behalf of the plaintiff and other families, requested HHS to make available records of dental services provided to New Hampshire Medicaid recipients under the age of twenty-one and of Medicaid reimbursement payments made to their dental healthcare providers from 1993 to 1998. The plaintiff asserted that the purpose for obtaining this information was to evaluate HHS' compliance with federal Medicaid law regarding dental services for recipients under twenty-one. In response to the plaintiff's request, HHS provided "pre-formatted" tabular summary reports. The plaintiff claims these reports were unresponsive to her request because most of the data provided did not distinguish between recipients by age and the few records specific to individuals under twenty-one offered no information regarding the dental services provided to them.

In 1999, the plaintiff filed a petition for declaratory and injunctive relief requesting access to the aforementioned records pursuant to RSA chapter 91-A. In her

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petition, the plaintiff requested the court to find that under [147 N.H. 378] RSA chapter 91-A: (1) the data sought were public records subject to disclosure; (2) HHS could be required to copy onto tapes the requested computer data; and (3)...

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