Posts Tagged ‘Richard Blumenthal’

Update: court OKs “ghost blurber” case, Sony likely to settle

After a California court of appeals ruled that a class action could go forward against Sony Pictures over its use of quotes from “ghost blurber” David Manning, the company said it was preparing to settle the case. (see Jun. 12, 2001). Judge Reuben Ortega, dissenting from his colleagues’ decision to let the suit proceed, wrote: “This is the most frivolous case with which I have ever had to deal. Imagine the great contribution this case will make to our quality of life and to justice in America. … A new day will dawn from which time no one will ever again be fooled by a promotion touting a movie as the greatest artistic accomplishment of the ages. From that day on, all persons will be able to absolutely rely on the truth and accuracy of movie ads. No longer will people be seen lurching like mindless zombies toward the movie theatre, compelled by a puff piece. … I cannot see breathing life into this farce. We should be occupying ourselves with resolving legitimate disputes instead of laughable cases designed not to gain anything for the plaintiffs, but rather to generate fees for the only true beneficiaries of this disgrace, the attorneys.” (opinion in PDF format).

Last year, Sony agreed to pay the state of Connecticut $325,000 following an investigation by grandstanding state AG Richard Blumenthal. The Connecticut connection that Blumenthal seized on? Well, it was that the (fictitious) Manning had been said to work for a (real) newspaper in Connecticut, the Ridgefield Press. “When the scandal was revealed, the Ridgefield Press demanded only an apology from Sony, which it got. ‘We’re not interested in grubbing money,’ [executive editor Jack] Sanders said. ‘A lot of people suggested we sue, but we’re not that kind of people. We just hope they don’t subpoena us to fly out and testify, unless they’re going to pay for transportation.'” (Emanuella Grinberg, “Moviegoers to settle with studio after being lured by phony critic”, CourtTV, Mar. 8). Update Aug. 3, 2005: Sony settles for $1.5 million.

Probe of Connecticut tobacco deal

Picking up where our Feb. 24 posting left off: “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 state’s attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, said: “I can tell you unequivocally that politics had nothing to do with this decision [to hire the Carmody firm]”. Such a card, that AG Blumenthal! (Stacey Stowe, “Impeachment Panel Examining Law Firm”, New York Times, Mar. 3)

Connecticut scandal: the tobacco-fee angle

Four years ago (Feb. 16, 2000) we noted that the state of Connecticut had chosen three politically connected law firms to handle the state’s role in the multistate tobacco litigation, a bit of business that yielded a very handsome $65 million in fees. (Other firms that wanted to be considered for the work were cut out.) The three firms included two linked to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and one, Carmody & Torrance of Waterbury, whose managing partner, James Robertson, was personal counsel to Republican Gov. John Rowland.

Now the firm of Carmody & Torrance has turned up amid the ethical storm swirling around Gov. Rowland, who may face impeachment over various personal financial irregularities. After Rowland nominated Robertson for a Superior Court judgeship, it developed that the Carmody firm had not only performed extensive free services for Rowland but had also agreed to defer payment of some $100,000 worth of paid services. In recent weeks the Connecticut press has had a lot to say about the (relatively small) amounts of conventional legal work that the state government has awarded to Carmody & Torrance in recent years, but (unless we’ve missed something) has expressed little curiosity about the selection of the firm for tobacco work, perhaps having swallowed the fiction by which the $65 million fee supposedly did not come at the state’s expense. (“Rowland lawyer says governor owes firm $100,000”, AP/Stamford Advocate, Feb. 13; Tobin A. Coleman, “Judges asked about gifts for Rowland”, Stamford Advocate, Feb. 14; Gregory B. Hladky, “Rowland?s ethics scandal snowballing”, New Haven Register, Feb. 16; “State ethics law loophole doesn?t exist, Plofsky says”, AP/New Haven Register, Feb. 22).

Blumenthal embarrassed on gun suits, again

Headline-grabbing Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal, whom we’ve slammed in this space previously for filing a dubious antitrust action aimed at punishing gun companies for having acted vigorously to stay out of the Clinton administration’s abortive Smith & Wesson deal, has just suffered an embarrassing defeat in his state’s high court. Blumenthal claimed that an email sent by one gun maker constituted proof that gun companies had acted criminally in resisting the S&W deal. But the Connecticut Supreme Court, hardly an assemblage of Second Amendment enthusiasts, has just ruled unanimously that Blumenthal’s claim was false. “[T]he e-mail reveals nothing that suggests an intent to break the law,” wrote Justice Joette Katz for the court. ” … Furthermore, to the extent that the e-mail refers to any action, it is the actions of others, and not of the respondents; it neither advocates that Kimber take any action of its own, nor that others take a particular action.” The new decision upholds the 2001 ruling of Hartford Superior Court Judge Vanessa Bryant that the e-mail was patently an “update of [firearms] litigation developments and does not advocate any criminal or illegal activity.” Will Blumenthal apologize? Will he finally start getting bad press? We’re not getting our hopes up (Thomas B. Scheffey, “Accidentally Sent Gun Industry E-Mail Found to Be Privileged”, Connecticut Law Tribune, Aug. 5).

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal: archival coverage

Highlights of coverage of Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal on Overlawyered, 1999-2002:

Nov. 4-5, 2002 (challenged by Martha Dean); May 8, 2002 (sues own state client); June 12, 2001 (Sony “ghost blurber” fictionally located in Ridgefield, Ct., making it his business); Oct. 10, 2000 (David Plotz); Jun. 12, 2000 (up for Second Circuit vacancy); April 6, 2000 (anti-business grandstanding); Mar. 31, 2000 (punishes gun industry for resistance); Feb. 16, 2000 (tobacco-fee bonanza); Feb. 3, 2000 (has “no idea” whether law firms he hired to represent Connecticut are overcharging); Dec. 2, 1999 (firearms).