Worth keeping a watch on:
VTC on Blumenthal at LegalNewslineFiled Under: State AGs
John O’Brien has an article at LegalNewsline on the Connecticut attorney general’s forced dissolution of HRDI, which extensively quotes my opposition.
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As reported below, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal violated the federal (and presumably the Connecticut) constitution by forcing the Healthcare Research and Development Institute to disband without ever being charged with an actual crime. Despite a signed “Assurance of Voluntary Compliance” signed by HRDI and Blumenthal that there was no “admission by, or evidence against, or any estoppel against HRDI” and no adjudication of any legal issue, Blumenthal’s office nevertheless issued a press release declaring HRDI guilty of violating the antitrust laws:
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Connecticut AG overrules First AmendmentFiled Under: State AGs
The Connecticut attorney general’s office has little use for the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech and assembly, as indicated by an “agreement” it forced the Healthcare Research & Development Institute to sign. HRDI is an association of health care executives and product vendors. After Attorney General Richard Blumenthal conducted an investigation where he unilaterally decided HRDI may have violated state antitrust law, he told HRDI to dissolve or face charges. Without any court finding–or any judicial proceeding that would review Blumenthal’s judgment–HRDI acquiesced. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum joined Blumenthal in this illegal and unconstitutional action.
If there is no complaint or judicial finding, then there is no basis for the state to receive any relief or compel any individual or group to waive its constitutional rights. To accept otherwise renders due process a meaningless concept. And if prosecutors can shutdown a group because of its purported threat to competition, then there’s nothing to prevent other groups from being dissolved because they threaten other state objectives, such as the war in Iraq or even the No Child Left Behind law.
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[click here] for
One of the alleged Connecticut Kingpins of the Judencia, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
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Where did Connecticut Attorney General Richard "Dick Blumenthal get his nickname "No bid contract boy"?
The below [found here]
* In Connecticut, attorney Martha Dean has taken up the thankless task of running against the Northeast’s most successful political demagogue, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, and has been making a spirited job of it (Edmund H. Mahony, “Attorney Takes On A General”, Hartford Courant, Oct. 19; Ray Hackett, “GOP challenger: Blumenthal’s high-profile cases waste tax dollars”, Norwich Bulletin, Oct. 28; “Dean says Blumenthal should stop Microsoft suit”, AP/WSFB-TV, Nov. 3). In news coverage no longer online, Dean has assailed Blumenthal for his continued denials that there was anything wrong with the way he picked his former law partners for the fabulously lucrative job of representing the state in the tobacco litigation (see Feb. 3 and Feb. 16, 2000).
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The below [found here]
Impeachment Panel Examining Law Firm
The House committee that will decide whether to recommend the impeachment of Gov. John G. Rowland is examining a Waterbury law firm, one of four firms that brought Connecticut's 1996 class-action suit against the tobacco industry and shared $65 million in fees.
The committee has asked the state attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, whether the governor played any role in Mr. Blumenthal's selection of Carmody & Torrance, a Waterbury law firm with close ties to the governor, to join three other law firms in the suit, which resulted in a $3.6 billion award for Connecticut.
The relationship between Mr. Rowland, Carmody & Torrance, and its former managing partner, James K. Robertson, an interim Superior Court judge, was thrust into the spotlight during Mr. Robertson's testimony at a hearing last month on his nomination to the bench. At that time, Judge Robertson told the House Judiciary Committee that he and his firm volunteered 500 hours of legal work for Mr. Rowland.
In addition, he said Mr. Rowland owed the firm $100,000 for other legal services. Mr. Robertson said volunteer legal services did not violate the state ethics laws on gifts to public officials; the director of the State Ethics Commission is expected to issue an opinion on that this week.
On Tuesday, Judge Robertson said that although he initially believed that Mr. Rowland had paid a $14,000 bill for legal work on an ethics violation, he discovered that the bill had been marked paid, but that the governor had paid only $100 toward it, said Michael Lawlor, a Democrat on the Judiciary and Impeachment Committees.
Judge Robertson said that his ties to Mr. Rowland had played no role in his firm's being selected for the tobacco litigation. In fact, he said, it was Mr. Blumenthal who made a personal plea to the partners of the firm to take the case.
In response to the impeachment committee, Mr. Blumenthal, a Republican, said it was solely his decision to hire Carmody & Torrance as counsel in the tobacco litigation. ''To the best of my knowledge, neither Governor Rowland nor anyone in the office of the governor played any role in the selection of Carmody and Torrance,'' he wrote in a letter Tuesday.
He also said he visited Carmody & Torrance and other law firms ''to recruit the strongest team for Connecticut in the tobacco litigation.''
In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Blumenthal was emphatic that he did not feel any political pressure to hire Carmody & Torrance.
''I can tell you unequivocally that politics had nothing to do with this decision,'' Mr. Blumenthal said. He said the governor was not a great enthusiast of the state pursuing litigation against the tobacco industry.
In fact, one of the reasons Carmody & Torrance was wary of joining the Connecticut litigation team was that Mr. Rowland had accepted campaign donations from executives at UST, a Connecticut-based smokeless tobacco company that was named as a defendant in the litigation, said David S. Golub, the private lead counsel on the Connecticut team. He said the firm was also reluctant because of the financial risk involved.
Ross H. Garber, Governor Rowland's in-house counsel, declined to comment on any aspect of the tobacco case.
Mr. Blumenthal said he had no knowledge of the fee arrangements Mr. Rowland had with Carmody & Torrance. ''In hindsight, if I had known, my office would have made a very different decision in regard to selecting counsel for the tobacco litigation,'' he said on Tuesday.
Mr. Blumenthal said he asked at least two other prominent state law firms, Wiggin & Dana and Shipman & Goodwin to take the case, but both declined. He specifically sought Carmody & Torrance because it was a defense -- not a plaintiff's -- firm, he said. ''We were dealing with some of the most wealthy and powerful defense firms and wanted to know what their thinking would be.''
Just how Carmody & Torrance, a firm known more for representing defendants than for serving as plaintiff's counsel, was hired in a class-action suit against big tobacco still puzzles some in the law field.
Norman A. Pattis, a New Haven lawyer, described Carmody & Torrance as ''a middle-range, middle-brow law firm.''
''The only thing that shines at Carmody & Torrance are the door knobs,'' Mr. Pattis said. ''What Carmody & Torrance has going for it is it is smack dab in Governor Rowland's idea of paradise -- Waterbury.''
On Feb. 17, federal investigators asked the state auditor for documents detailing state payments to Carmody & Torrance, said Robert G. Jaekle, the state auditor.
State auditors' records show that before Mr. Rowland took office, Carmody & Torrance earned only nominal fees from state work; a payment of $1,400 is listed in 1993. During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Robertson told the Judiciary Committee the firm didn't pursue state work before Mr. Rowland was in office ''because it paid poorly compared to private clients.''
But after Mr. Rowland was elected in 1994, the firm began earning significant fees, $5 million from state agencies and more from quasi-public agencies like the Connecticut Development Authority, currently being tallied for federal investigators.
In addition, Mr. Rowland asked Mr. Blumenthal s office to hire Carmody & Torrance as counsel in three legal cases; in four other cases, commissioners or other senior state agency officials requested that Mr. Blumenthal's office hire Carmody & Torrance, according to Mr. Blumenthal's letter on Tuesday to the impeachment committee chairmen.
When he approached Carmody & Torrance to take on the tobacco work, Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat often perceived as a leading gubernatorial candidate, had already hired three other law firms: Berger and Montague, a Philadelphia firm with expertise in class-action law suits; his former law partner, Mr. Golub of Stamford, a well-known litigator in medical malpractice cases; and Emmet & Glander of Stamford. Kathryn Emmett, a former Superior Court judge, is the wife of David Golub.
Mr. Blumenthal said when he initiated the tobacco litigation in Connecticut, most state firms felt the risks were too high and the likelihood of recovery too low to get involved.
But several lawyers who applied for the work disagree. James F. Early, a New Haven lawyer who has won numerous asbestos and other ''toxic tort'' cases submitted a proposal and said he was willing to take the risk. He said he still does not know why he was not selected.
''It would seem to me that the interest we showed was very significant, and nobody had to beg us to take this case,'' Mr. Early said. ''I knew what the liabilities were, and we were willing to spend millions of our own money to pursue this case.''
Charles C. Goetsch of New Haven, who also applied for the job, said the risk did not faze him. ''I represent individuals on a contingency basis,'' he said. ''There is never any guarantee.''
Robert I. Reardon Jr. of New London, a past president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association and a prominent class-action lawyer who litigated the case involving the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device, applied for the work but was not hired. ''I felt my firm had as much or more experience, and the fact that I didn't even receive a phone call bothered me,'' Mr. Reardon said. Mr. Golub said taking on the tobacco litigation was professionally satisfying. He also said that as lead counsel he received the greatest percentage of the $65 million fee, but he declined to say how much, as did his wife. But Mr. Golub said the perception that he and his wife were hired because Mr. Golub was Mr. Blumenthal's partner makes this case his ''Achilles' heel.''
''The public perception of this is that they're not going to believe this was an honest effort,'' he said. ''I'd love to show everyone all the injunction papers and all the research to prove how hard we worked on this.''
Correction: March 4, 2004, Thursday Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about the investigation of Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut gave an incorrect party affiliation in some references for Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. He is a Democrat.
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Was Blumenthal a hypocrite, bid rigging okay for him, not okay for insurance companies? [pdf]
Was the other "perp" mentioned in the above pdf link, former New York Attorney General and former New York Governor, Eliot Spitzer, taken down by [this video] being forwarded to the FBI in Jan. '08?