At a Glance
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, Attorney General
Established – 1897
Statutory authority – CGS Sections 3-124 to 3-131
Central office –
Average number of full-time employees - 338
Recurring General Fund operating expenses - $32.6million
Revenues generated - $684,600,213
Among the critical missions of this office are to represent and advocate the interest of the state and its citizens as vigorously as possible, to ensure that state government acts within the letter and spirit of the law, that public resources are protected for present and future generations, that the quality of life of all our citizens is preserved and enhanced, and that the rights of our most vulnerable citizens are safeguarded.
General is the chief legal officer of the state. The Attorney General's Office serves as legal
counsel to all state agencies. The
Connecticut Constitution and
Revenue Achieved by the Office of the Attorney General
During the 2007-2008 fiscal year: $684,600,213
A. Revenue Generated for General Fund
Tobacco Settlement Fund Collections $141,347,315
State Child Support Collections $ 45,823,963
Tax Collection $ 1,085,098
Health Care Fraud Recovery $ 6,007,790
Antitrust Fees, Costs and Restitution $ 413,551
Penalties for Environmental Violations $ 1,457,440
Antitrust Civil Penalties $ 4,013,500
Department of Social Services Collections $ 6,171,638
Department of Administrative Services Collections $ 7,792,621
Consumer Protection Penalties & Fees $ 424,045
Miscellaneous Collections $ 1,573,404
Consumer Protection Settlements $ 1,960,025
Treasurer Collections $ 137,579
Total Revenue for State's General Fund $218,007,969
B. Revenue Generated for Special Funds
Unpaid Wage and Employment Tax Collection $ 343,756
State Employees Workers’ Compensation Collection $ 814,368
Second Injury Fund Collection $ 105,939
Consumer Protection Education $ 252,879
Transportation Fund $ 17,500,000
Total Revenue for Special Funds $ 19,219,697
C. Revenue Awarded or Paid to Individuals and Businesses
Anti-Trust Restitution $ 95,431,525
Consumer Protection Restitution $ 1,522,310
Refunds for Utility Consumers $ 44,000,000
Enron Related Recoveries for CRRA and Towns $ 4,745,000
Environmental Clean-up and Remediation $ 670,921
Trust Funds Protected, Preserved or Recovered $ 91,122,271
Restitution from Home Improvement Contractors $ 306,744
State Child Support Collection for CT Families $ 208,457,231
Consumer Health Insurance Restitution $ 1,115,376
Renter’s Security Deposits 2,169
Total Revenue to Individuals and Businesses $ 447,373,547
TOTAL REVENUE ACHIEVED $ 684,600,213
The Office of the Attorney General is divided into 14 departments, each designated to represent agencies which provide particular categories of service to State residents. The Attorney General also participates in the legislative process, maintains an active communication with citizens and investigates, in conjunction with the State Auditors, Whistleblower complaints. During fiscal year 2007-2008 the office generated approximately $684.6 million in revenue for the general fund, special state funds and for consumers. The overall work completed by this office in fiscal year 2007-2008 is summarized as follows:
Court cases completed 15,119
Court cases pending 33,646
Appeals completed 134
Appeals pending 294
Formal opinions issued 35
The Attorney General successfully advocated for several initiatives to help consumers including legislation prohibiting oil companies from restricting their retailers from offering discounts for gasoline cash purchases, protecting prepaid heating oil deposits when a heating oil company is placed in receivership, limiting commercial businesses use of consumer social security numbers and prohibiting lead in children’s toys. In addition, the Attorney General opposed legislation transferring state regulatory authority over insurance annuities and other financial products to a national organization of insurers and insurance regulators.
The Attorney General also supported new laws that would establish an Asian-American Commission, create a coordinating committee of state agencies to enforce employee misclassification laws and allow the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund to use more of its funds for cessation and prevention programs.
Department's primary responsibility is to administer and enforce the
Connecticut Antitrust Act, and has authority to enforce major provisions of the
federal antitrust laws as well. The
Department also relies on other federal and state laws, including the
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, to ensure the Attorney General's
overall responsibility to maintain open and competitive markets in
During the past
year the Department continued to build on the successes it has achieved over
the last few years in industries that are vitally important to consumers. In that regard the Department has conducted
investigations, commenced legal action and obtained settlements in the
insurance, financial, pharmaceutical, facility maintenance and healthcare
industries, among others. All told, the
Department secured significant restitution for injured consumers, including
state agencies, small businesses and individuals, and collected and obtained
large civil penalties for violations of
The Department continued its emphasis on
investigating and prosecuting anticompetitive and illegal practices engaged in
by insurance carriers and brokers. The
practices at issue: bid rigging, steering of business to preferred insurers in
return for lucrative undisclosed compensation, and other anticompetitive and
illegal behavior, has cost
In October, 2007, the Attorney General broke new ground by filing the first enforcement action in the highly secretive reinsurance industry. Reinsurance is the business of providing insurance-to-insurance companies, and certain aspects of the lucrative business are controlled by a small number of powerful reinsurance brokers. The Attorney General’s lawsuit against Guy Carpenter & Co. -- one of the world’s largest reinsurance brokers -- and Excess Reinsurance Company, alleged that Guy Carpenter engaged in a series of illegal conspiracies with a number of co-conspirator reinsurers to fix the prices of reinsurance and allocate business to a small number of preferred reinsurers in exchange for excessive hidden payments. The complaint seeks restitution, penalties and other equitable relief.
In July, 2007,
the Attorney General entered into a $115 million settlement with The Hartford
Financial Services Group, Inc. for its role in a long-term scheme designed to
rig bids and illegally steer business for its insurance products in exchange
for paying brokers secret payments, and for its role in a scheme enabling
certain of its large institutional customers to engage in “market timing” in
some of The Hartford’s mutual funds.
Through the Attorney General’s settlement, The Hartford established two
restitution pools totaling $89 million dollars for injured consumers both
On November 14,
2007, the Attorney General announced a settlement with The Principal Financial
Group over its decade-long scheme to conceal secret payments to brokers in
exchange for receiving preferential treatment from brokers placing group
annuities for their pension plan clients.
The settlement established a national restitution fund of $4.4 million
for injured pension plans, a $600,000 civil penalty and business reforms to
prohibit the illegal business practices from reoccurring. In May, of 2008, the office settled another
case involving largely the same conduct against Mutual of Omaha Insurance
Company (“Mutual”). The settlement
provided a $1.5 million restitution fund to pension plans throughout the
This past year
has brought unprecedented turmoil in the financial markets and allegations of
suspect business practices engaged in by mortgage lenders, investment banks and
others involved in the financial services industry. In part due to concerns raised by these
issues, the Attorney General launched an investigation of the three major U.S.
credit rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard
& Poors and Fitch, over their respective practices in providing credit
ratings for debt instruments -- collateralized debt obligations, municipal
bonds, and other structured securities which are at the core of the financial
crisis. The wide-ranging investigation
seeks to determine whether one or more of these companies engaged in illegal
and anticompetitive business practices.
One particular focus of the investigation is the extent to which the
credit raters may have underrated public debt issued by the State of
Ensuring competitive markets in the healthcare industry is an ongoing priority of the Antitrust Department. This last fiscal year saw additional enforcements actions by the office. In March, 2008, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories and Fournier Industrie Et Sante, a French drug company, for allegedly illegally blocking cheaper, generic versions of TriCor, a cholesterol drug, from reaching the market. The suit alleges that the companies maintain monopoly power by improperly obtaining patents for TriCor knowing the patents are unenforceable, making minor changes in drug formulation to impede generic entry and other anticompetitive conduct. The suits seek damages, injunctive and other relief. On May 1, 2008, the Attorney General announced a national settlement in his investigation of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (“IDSA”) over its issuance of clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of Lyme disease. The Attorney General’s investigation uncovered serious flaws in the IDSA’s process for drafting its 2006 Lyme disease guidelines, including a failure to conduct a conflicts check for any of the guideline’s authors prior to their appointment to the guideline panel and the panel’s failure to meaningfully consider opposing points of view on certain issues -- principally the existence and treatment of chronic Lyme disease. The settlement requires the IDSA to empanel a neutral conflict free review panel to reassess the findings of the 2006 Lyme disease guidelines. The case is significant in that it is the first-ever antitrust investigation against a medical society related to clinical practice guidelines. The settlement will ensure that the findings of the 2006 guidelines have undergone a comprehensive and rigorous review.
On the local front, two significant investigations were concluded this fiscal year. First, in two separate actions, the Attorney General settled with the remaining co-conspirators in his long-running antitrust prosecutions stemming from his bid-rigging investigation in the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning ("HVAC") industry. In July 2007, the Attorney General entered into a settlement with John Haggett, the former president of B-G Mechanical Services, Inc., (“B-G”) and Christopher Link, the owner of Link Mechanical Services, a competitor of B-G who provided rigged bids. In February 2008, the Attorney General settled with Industrial Steel & Boiler Services, Inc. and its part-owner, William O’Neil for participating in the same bid-rigging scheme. The combined settlements netted civil penalties of $210,000 and a requirement that the two companies establish antitrust compliance plans to prevent future anticompetitive practices.
Second, in March
2008, the Attorney General entered into a settlement with two
enforcement has long-been a high priority within the Attorney General’s
antitrust enforcement regime and this year was no exception. In September 2007, the office concluded a
review of the merger between the two largest school bus transportation
providers in the
Consumer Protection Department
The focus of this Department is consumer protection through counsel and representation of the Department of Consumer Protection: consumer education and complaint mediation; investigations; appearances before state and federal agencies; and litigation under various state and federal laws with a major reliance on the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA).
Consumer Education and Mediation
As part of his
core mission, the Attorney General continued his efforts to educate consumers
on how to avoid scams and helped mediate disputes between consumers and those
who sell or who offer to sell consumer’s goods or services. As part of this undertaking, this Department
assists the Attorney General in issuing consumer alerts about fraudulent
financial schemes, identity theft, and dangerous products, and presenting and
attending consumer education forums. For
example, the Attorney General hosted the 6th Annual Connecticut Triad
Conference at Central Connecticut State College. The Conference featured presentations from
the FBI, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Connecticut Department of Banking,
and a Judge of Probate, among others and focused on the Financial Exploitation
and Abuse affecting the elderly. The
Attorney General will be hosting the 7th Annual Connecticut Triad Conference at
Mystic Seaport this fall. Furthermore, as part of the Attorney General’s
focus on consumer mediation, our Department, which consists of attorneys,
volunteer advocates and other staff, responded to 3,475 consumer complaints
during this fiscal year. Over
$896,196.07 was refunded or credited to
Home Heating-Oil Cases
Our office is
investigating a series of failures of local heating oil companies that have
caused significant financial hardship to consumers, particularly those who
entered into long-term pre-paid contracts with such oil companies. As part of a lawsuit brought by our
Department against F&S Oil Co. and its
We previously filed suit against Newtown Oil Company and its principals for allegedly failing to deliver pre-paid fuel oil to customers. The case was settled with strong injunctive provisions as well as $250,000 in consumer restitution. Subsequent to the settlement of the civil case against Newtown Oil, William Trudeau and Heather Bliss, this Office participated in a multiagency taskforce which ultimately lead to the arrest of Trudeau and Bliss on criminal charges.
Our office also obtained a judgment against Accurate Heating and Cooling, LLC and its owner Joseph George Reynolds, following allegations that the defendants failed to provide oil and service promised in company contracts and to secure sufficient supplies for prepaid agreements. The court ordered Accurate to pay $496,000.00 civil penalties, $138,666.38 disgorgement, attorneys fees and costs, and $138,666 in restitution and barred Reynolds from owning, operating, managing or working for a heating oil business until he pays all sums ordered by the court and otherwise brings himself into compliance with the home heating oil dealer statutes.
In June 2008, our office, in conjunction with the Attorneys General of ten other states reached an agreement with Anheuser-Busch that will result in the discontinuance of its two pre-mixed energy drinks Tilt and Bud Extra. As part of the agreement, Anheuser-Busch will not produce any caffeinated alcoholic beverages in the future. The alcoholic energy products taste and look like non-alcoholic energy drinks that are popular with young people who often wrongly believe that the caffeine in the drinks will counteract the intoxicating effects of the alcohol, allegedly because of aggressive marketing campaigns.
In addition, 16 Attorneys General submitted a letter urging
the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to take immediate action to
investigate allegations that
Prescription Drug Cases
Our office together with 29 Attorneys General settled with Merck, resolving allegations that it launched an aggressive and deceptive advertising campaign that misrepresented the safety and improperly concealed the increased risks associated with the pain-relieving drug Vioxx. Under the settlement, Merck will no longer engage in ghostwriting articles for health care providers, refrain from using scientific data deceptively when marketing to doctors, delay any direct-to-consumer television advertising for a pain medication if the FDA recommends it do so, submit all television advertising campaigns to the FDA for review before release, adhere to any recommendations by the FDA, and pay $58 million to the settling states of which Connecticut received $1,352,287.63.
We have also settled with Express Scripts Inc., resolving allegations that it engaged in deceptive business practices by not acting in a manner consistent with its representations to consumers and employers about its pharmacy benefit management services. Express Scripts allegedly overstated the cost benefits of switching to certain preferred medications. According to the settlement, the company will pay $9.3 million to the states in reimbursement to patients who switched between cholesterol-controlling drugs.
Health Care Products
In August 2007,
The State brought
a sovereign enforcement action under CUTPA against New England Industrial
Roofing, LLC, a
Our Department also pursued Progressive Business Publications, a Pennsylvania company, for solicitations via facsimile which purported to be an official notice from the Connecticut Healthcare Advocate warning that businesses who do not post a certain poster issued by the Connecticut Healthcare Advocate risked fines of up to $7,500. Our Department sued the company, alleging that it purposefully misrepresented the source of the solicitation so that the recipients would order posters from Progressive, thinking they were purchasing them from the Connecticut Healthcare Advocate.
Consumer Products and Services
Our office negotiated a settlement with lawn tractor manufacturer MTD Products (“MTD”) and engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton (“Briggs”) resolving allegations that the defendants falsely labeled 16 horsepower engines as 18.5 horsepower, misleading consumers into believing they were buying a more powerful product. The stipulated court judgment requires MTD and Briggs to pay restitution to affected consumers in the amount of $300 per tractor and to make a payment to the State in the amount of $250,000. The companies also agreed to injunctive relief to prevent any recurrence.
Our office together with 17 other Attorneys General settled with South Carolina-based JK Harris & Company, JK Harris Financial Recovery System LLC, Professional Fee Financing Associates LLC, and owner John Harris, resolving allegations that they falsely advertised tax relief services by claiming they could settle debts with the IRS for “pennies on the dollar” by using an “offer in compromise” with the Internal Revenue Service that they were not qualified to deliver. Furthermore, JK Harris Financial Recovery System contacted consumers through direct mailings that stated consumers would be facing court action due to their outstanding debt, which the company could help them resolve for a fee. The investigation found that in many cases there was no debt owed by the consumer.
A lawsuit was filed against Ultimate Travel Network, LLC, Ameri-world Group, LLC and Millennium Travel & Promotions, Inc. alleging deceptive practices, high pressures sales tactics, misrepresentation as to the availability of travel dates to certain locations, and failure to provide the “free” travel vouchers.
We also settled with Storesonline,
Inc. a/k/a Imergent, Inc., resolving allegations that the company made
exaggerated and deceptive claims to consumers about the types of websites it
could set up for their existing companies.
Under the settlement, Storesonline, Inc. will pay the state $65,000 and
another $65,000 in restitution to
Our office also
filed a lawsuit against the owner of The Brick Gallery in
Our office reached an agreement with the Internet phone company, Vonage Holdings Corporation, resolving allegations that the company failed to fully inform users of its Voice over Internet Protocol phone service that their 911 calls could be delayed or not go through. Vonage has agreed to assure its Internet telephone subscribers have full and fast 911 emergency access.
The State filed a sovereign enforcement action against Mr. Tim Chapulis, an auctioneer, and his company Tim’s Inc. for selling real property by auction without a real estate license. Specifically, we alleged that Mr. Chapulis and Tim’s Auction are in violation of General Statutes § 20-325, which prohibits persons not in possession of a real estate broker or salesperson’s license from engaging in the business of a real estate broker or salesperson; and Regs., Conn. State Agencies § 20-328-8a(c), which prohibits salespersons from demanding compensation absent reasonable cause for payment.
Unsolicited Check Cases
As part of a
multi-state action, we reached a settlement with Directory Billing, LLC,
resolving allegations that the company engaged in deceptive business practices
by using “live” activation checks to require businesses and organizations to
pay for a preferred business listing on Directory Billing’s on-line yellow
pages directory. Directory Billing allegedly
sent businesses and other organizations “live” activation checks in the mail,
made payable to the business or organization for a small amount. On the back of the checks, in fine print
above the endorsement line, was language stating that by depositing the check,
the recipient agreed to purchase from Directory Billing its on-line yellow
pages directory. The fine print also
stated that by depositing the check, the recipient authorized Directory Billing
to bill monthly fees through the business’s telephone bill or through automatic
debiting of the amount from the bank account into which the recipient deposited
the check, or by other methods. Under
the terms of the judgment Directory Billing must stop using these solicitation
checks, give notice to all current customers and pay restitution and fees
totaling $8,485.00 to
Home Mortgage Cases
Our Department along with the Attorney General’s Banking and Finance Department settled with Reiner, Reiner, and Bendett, P.C., Absolute Mortgage Solutions, LLC, and Access America, LLC d/b/a/ Century 21 Access America of Wethersfield, resolving allegations that Reiner, a title insurance company, used sham service, rental, and other agreements to conceal kickbacks and inducements. In exchange, Absolute and Access allegedly steered consumers to Reiner, resulting in consumers being overcharged. The defendants agreed to a settlement of $700,000 and injunctive relief.
We brought the
predatory lending lawsuit against Royal Financial Services, LLC et al., under
CUTPA and Connecticut Banking Law. We
alleged that defendants flipped properties in the
America Online, a
Our office led
the Attorneys General from 48 States and the
Funeral Home Practices
Our office filed
a lawsuit in October of 2007 against Magner Management alleging unfair and
deceptive conduct, including violation of cemetery statutes, self-dealing, and
sales tax fraud. In addition, our office
investigated Colonial Funeral Home after receiving a complaint regarding the
failure of the funeral director to transfer insurance and preneed account
funds. We obtained a court order
enjoining him, Colonial Funeral Home and its funeral director from operating in
the State of
Computer Data Breaches
We investigated data breaches at two Bank of New York Mellon businesses, Shareowner Services and Working Capital Solutions. The Shareowner Services breach involved the loss of an unencrypted backup tape containing sensitive, personally identifiable information on about 4.5 million consumers nationwide, nearly half a million of whom are Connecticut residents. The Working Capital Solutions breach involved the loss of a backup tape which contained scans of checks and remittance documents. Many of the images purportedly contain sensitive, personally identifiable information. After negotiations with our office, the Bank of New York Mellon agreed to provide each affected individual with free credit monitoring for two years and identity theft insurance of $25,000.00. Significantly, our office also persuaded the Bank of New York Mellon to offer reimbursement for the placing and lifting of credit freezes for affected consumers.
Home Improvement Contactors
The Office remains active in criminally prosecuting unscrupulous home improvement contractors and unlicensed real estate brokers and agents, accepting 107 cases this year for prosecution which resulted in $306,744.21 in court-ordered restitution to victims.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced the sentencing of Richard A. Koslik, a home improvement contractor, to a nine-month prison term after being convicted of two counts of offering to make home improvements and one count of making home improvements without being properly registered.
We filed a CUTPA enforcement action against Community Remodeling Co., LLC, Home Funding Resources, Anthony Perrotti and Francis J. Guarino. The complaint asserts various allegations against the defendants, including that defendants willfully held themselves out as registered home improvement contractors despite no registration with DCP, misrepresented that their services were endorsed by a governmental entity, misrepresented that they were licensed to loan money to consumers to finance the payment of the home improvement services that were to be provided, refused to cancel contracts pursuant to the contract terms, unilaterally renewed contracts with additional terms, and engaged in abusive and unfair debt collection practices.
Utility Rate Increase Cases
This office vigorously opposed a $209.7 million CL&P rate increase request for 2008 and 2009. In its decision, the Department of Public Utility Control accepted many of the AG's arguments and approved a rate increase of only $70.2 million in 2008 and $22.5 million in 2009.
General asked the DPUC to bar Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG) from collecting
$1.4 million from 3,400 customers as a penalty for illegal and improper bills
it sent them in January 2008. In
November and December 2007, CNG under-billed 3,400 customers and sought to make
up for that under-billing in January by sending consumers bills that included
usage for November, December and January, imposing a tremendous cost burden on
those customers. CNG’s billing practices
LLC sought and received a ratepayer subsidized reliability contract
Child Protection Department
The Child Protection Department of the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for representing the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) in state and federal court proceedings brought on behalf of abused and neglected children. The Child Protection Department handles the largest caseload in the office and appears regularly in all sixteen juvenile courts around the state, as well as in federal court and before the state appeals courts. In addition, the Child Protection Department defends DCF in all administrative appeals to the superior court.
This past year, the department successfully defended the state in a long-standing federal lawsuit involving a child with educational needs. In M. K. v. Sergei, the federal court determined that DCF had not violated federal law or discriminated against a disabled child by admitting a mentally ill child to DCF’s voluntary services program, The court found that DCF’s voluntary service program was offered to prevent the child from being removed by court order after the child’s mother felt she could no longer care for the child at home -- the child received the same services he would have received through a juvenile court proceeding, without the parents losing their legal rights. Nor does DCF bear responsibility for the child’s educational needs; those services are properly provided by the child’s school system, not DCF.
This year saw an increase in the number of appeals the department handled in state court. Currently pending are 52 appeals; in most of these appeals the department is defending a decision to terminate parental rights for children who have been abused or neglected and who cannot be safely returned to their parents.
In fourteen out of fifteen cases decided by the Appellate or Supreme Court, the decisions were favorable to the state. The one case where a termination of parental rights was reversed, In re Jorden R., 107 Conn. App. 12 (2008) is currently under review by the Supreme Court.
Of particular note was the ruling in In re T.K, 105 Conn. App. 502 (2008), where the Appellate Court affirmed an emergency custody order involving a newborn whose mother had verbalized to the medical staff her obsessive thoughts to harm herself and her child. The Appellate Court ruled that regardless of whether parents are cooperative or whether they have no history of harming other children, the trial court must still consider the risk to the child. As the Court stated: “The doctrine of predictive neglect is grounded in the state's responsibility to avoid harm to the well-being of a child, not to repair it after a tragedy has occurred.”
The Supreme Court affirmed a decision terminating parental rights in In re Davonta V., 285 Conn. 483 (2008), determining that it was in the best interest of Davonta, a teenage boy who had been in foster care for many years, to have his mother’s parental rights terminated, even though he would not likely be adopted. The trial court properly relied on expert testimony explaining that the child wanted to remain with his current foster family where he had a stable home and was doing well. Termination would assure the child security and permanency and the decision of the trial court was therefore affirmed.
Another victory for the department was In re Joseph L.105 Conn. App. 515 (2008) two consolidated appeals by parents whose rights had been terminated, based on a history of severe domestic violence, mental illness and substance abuse. Among the issues raised by that appeal was whether the trial court erred in not appointing a guardian ad litem for the children, based on statements the father claimed one of his sons had made indicating he wanted to return home. The children’s attorney had reported no conflict in representing the children when asked by the trial court. Because the father failed to establish a record that the children’s interest conflicted with the position taken by their attorney, or that, at their young age, they were capable of understanding and developing a position, the trial court had no duty to appoint a separate guardian ad litem. Nor would the appointment of a separate guardian ad litem have affected the outcome of the trial.
In Anna Lee M., 104 Conn. App. 121 (2007) the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s termination of parental rights for three children whose mother was not capable of safely caring for them. On appeal, the mother argued that her history of neglect of her older children should not be admissible but the Appellate Court determined that the court properly considered, as it must, the mother’s parenting ability from a historical perspective.
The Appellate Court reversed a trial court’s ruling in In re Selena O., 104 Conn. App. 635 (2007), a case in which the department appealed the denial of a petition to terminate parental rights by the trial court which had assumed the mother had completed a drug treatment program after the end of the trial, with no evidence to support that assumption. The Appellate Court agreed that the court’s assumption was speculation and remanded the case for a new trial.
Lastly, the Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Court in In re Leah S., 284 Conn. 685 (2007) a case setting the parameters for when the Department of Children and Families may be held in contempt. In that case, a court order requiring DCF to take all necessary steps to ensure the child’s safety and well being could not provide a sufficient legal basis to hold the department in contempt for failing to place a mentally ill child in a residential treatment facility. A court order must be specific and unambiguous and a party’s actions must be willful before contempt may be issued for violation of a court order. Here, there was no evidence that the department had acted wilfully when it had provided mental health services to the child and therefore the contempt finding was reversed.
This year, our
battle against one of the nation’s largest coal-fired power producers for its
violations of the Clean Air Act came to a successful end. In October of 2007, we settled the case that
we, several other states, and the
In May of 2008,
a jury rendered a verdict on liability in another case brought under the Clean
Air Act for emissions violations. In the
case against Cinergy Corp and its affiliates, the jury found that Cinergy
violated the Clean Air Act at one of its plants in
We carried on
our litigation against Allegheny Energy’s violation of the Clean Air Act by its
coal-fired power plants in
our efforts to combat global warming this past year. Along with several other states and
We appealed the
dismissal of our lawsuit against the five largest emitters of greenhouse
gases. We alleged in Connecticut v. AEP that the largest
power producers in the
great success in our continued efforts to protect Long Island Sound. We successfully defended the Department of
Environmental Protection (“DEP”) in an appeal to the Second Circuit by Islander
East of DEP’s decision to deny a water quality certification for a gas pipeline
opposed the Broadwater floating LNG facility on behalf of the Commissioner of
Environmental Protection. In accordance
with objections filed by us on behalf of DEP, the state of
This year we
sought and obtained five temporary injunctions to halt damage to the
environment. In two cases against
Associated Carting and D.C. Waste Management, we stopped two illegal solid
waste facilities from operating in
In our continuing effort to hold environmental polluters responsible for the environmental damage they cause, and to relieve the taxpayer from having to pay for the actions of a lawbreaker, we tried a case this year to pierce the corporate veil of a company that was hiding assets of the polluter. We are awaiting a decision from the court.
We continued our effort to protect The
Preserve in Old Saybrook, a unique and pristine 1,000 acre parcel along the
We settled a
case against Home Depot, Manafort Brothers, Inc., and others for a penalty of
$750,000 for their violations of the dam permitting statutes and their
stormwater general construction permit.
In this case, also known as the
In our representation of the Department of Agriculture (“DOA”), we obtained an important Supreme Court decision upholding the DOA’s seizure of 46 neglected cats in the case of State of Connecticut v. Koczur. We continued to file court actions to save abused or neglected animals, including livestock as well as domestic animals. We obtained court orders upholding the state’s seizure of sixty-five abused animals.
We also instituted the Animal Abuse Hotline this past year, providing an easier way for individuals to report instances of actual or suspected animal abuse and dog fighting. All of the calls to the Hotline are immediately directed to the appropriate authorities for investigation.
We continued to protect the development rights acquired by the DOA through its Farmland Preservation Program. This past year, we assisted the DOA in preserving 869 acres of farmland by acquiring the development rights to the land.
In the area of enforcement of the solid waste laws, the office continued its successful efforts in prosecuting vehicle forfeiture cases where vehicles used in the illegal dumping of solid waste were seized by municipal police departments. This year we seized three vehicles from polluters caught illegally dumping solid waste, including a dump truck from a repeat offender. The vehicles were all turned over to the towns in which the dumpers were caught.
Our representation of the DEP in bankruptcy proceedings continues to prevent polluters from avoiding their environmental liability by abandoning polluted property through the Bankruptcy Court.
In addition to all of the above, we continue to provide a full range of legal services to both DEP and DOA, including contract review, opinions, the defense of Claims Commissioner matters, legal advice, and counsel.
Finance and Public Utilities Department
The Finance and Public Utilities Department provides legal services to state agencies that regulate insurance, banking, securities, and public utilities, as well as the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Revenue Services, the Department of Special Revenue, and the Office of Policy and Management. Legal issues involving state regulation of the finance services industries form a major part of this department’s work.
Predatory lending and illegal lending practices particularly in the subprime mortgage market have been of particular concern for this Department. Subprime mortgage lending involves borrowers whose credit is impaired. The subprime lending industry expanded dramatically in the last decade, but with serious abuses and deceptive practices. This office has fought predatory lending practices which entice consumers into unknowingly purchasing high cost, high fee loans that they later cannot repay or refinance.
With the recent
crisis in the residential mortgage industry associated with many of these
abusive practices in the subprime market, many
In addition, a substantial portion of the Finance Department’s resources over the past year and into the future are devoted to assisting individual consumers with complaints against banks and mortgage companies or who may be facing foreclosure. The Department’s attorneys attempt to mediate informally a resolution of payment disputes, to assist in obtaining loan modifications and offer other help to distressed homeowners. This has become a particularly pressing area, as borrowers, enticed by initial low “teaser” interest rates, have seen their adjustable rate mortgages increase sharply, often forcing them into foreclosure and the loss of their homes. This Department attempts to assist these borrowers at a time when they are under serious stress and lack the ability to obtain private legal assistance. The Department’s attorneys also attempt to help individuals experiencing difficulties related to the payment of student loans.
This Department works closely with the agencies it represents in investigating and prosecuting unfair and illegal practices in other areas as well. In particular, this Department has been involved in several significant joint investigations with the Insurance Department in title insurance and other areas. Attorneys in this Department also assist the Department of Economic and Community Development pursuit of persons and companies that have defaulted on their economic development loans and grants. Similarly, this Department represents the Department of Revenue Services in appeals to the state appellate and supreme courts.
works with the Department of Revenue Services to maintain the Connecticut
Tobacco Directory, and enforces state statutes relating to tobacco product
manufacturers, as well as the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the
This Department also represents the Department of Public Utility Control and the Connecticut Siting Council in all legal matters at the state and federal level, including representing the State’s interests in matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that have a great impact on the energy rates paid by Connecticut consumers.
Child Support & Collections
The mission of
the Collections/Child Support Department is to expeditiously recover monies due
to the State and to secure the establishment of orders for the support of
children. Its major client agencies are
the Department of Administrative Services /
In fiscal year 2007-2008 Department attorneys recovered cash payments on debts owed to the State of approximately twelve million dollars.
establishment activities traditionally produce large caseloads. In fiscal 2007-2008, more than 11,000 cases
were opened in all categories and over 6,189 files were closed during the
period. These cases involve
establishment of order for the support of children wherever they or the
non-custodial parent may be. Department
attorneys actively argued cases on behalf of children who resided not only in
the State of
Department attorneys were engaged in a wide variety of litigation activities, won important judicial victories and recovered significant sums on behalf of state agencies during the year. The Department prevailed in two (2) matters decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court. In Walsh v. Jodoin, 283 Conn. 187 (1997) the Court concurred with the arguments advanced by this office that federal and state constitutional guarantees of equal protection mandated that a newly passed state statute that extended the support obligation of a parent must be applied to cases in which the support order was in effect as of the effective date of the statute. The Court reversed a Superior Court decision that would have limited the applicability of the statute to those cases in which the support order was entered on and after the effective date of the new statute.
In State v. Peters, 287 Conn. 82 (2008) the Supreme Court agreed with the state’s position that, in the context of the recovery of accident-related Medicaid benefits, the federal Social Security Act, which governs the program, permitted the state to secure reimbursement of its payments by imposition of a lien against the proceeds of the beneficiary’s cause of action and was not required to initiate a separate action against the tortfeasor. The Court also held that where the state chose to secure reimbursement of its Medicaid payments through the lien mechanism, there was nothing in the law that would require the state to reduce the amount of its reimbursement pro rata to compensate the beneficiary for the attorney fees and costs he expended in obtaining the recovery in which the state ultimately shared.
In furtherance of an initiative taken in the prior fiscal year, a member of the Department continued to assist the Office of the Secretary of the State in securing payment fees, penalties and interest due from foreign corporations doing business in this state that had failed to register and pay the associated fee. Slightly more than $1,000,000 in such fees, penalties and interest were collected during the 2007-2008 fiscal year.
In the Estate of Michalik, a Department
attorney successfully recovered more than $636,000 in Medicaid benefits and
costs incurred for the decedent’s care at
This department defends state agencies and state officials in employment related litigation and administrative complaints and provides legal advice and guidance to state agencies on employment issues. We are currently defending the state in approximately 170 employment cases in the state and federal courts, as well as more than 200 complaints before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, and the Office of the Claims Commissioner.
During the past year, the department defended state agencies in several significant cases. For example, we successfully defended a case that challenged an agency’s right to require an employee to undergo a fitness for duty examination when significant issues arose that caused the agency to question the employee’s ability to perform the essential duties of the job. In addition, we are currently involved in defending a class action lawsuit that challenges the validity of the physical fitness test administered to candidates for the position of correction officer.
We prevailed in numerous other cases in the state and federal courts. Significantly, we were able to obtain favorable rulings on 24 summary judgment motions that were filed, eliminating the need for trials in those cases. We also obtained partial summary judgment rulings in 2 other cases and filed an additional 17 such motions, which are pending. We were involved in 7 trials and administrative hearings during the past year and prevailed in all of them. In several other cases, we were able to achieve settlements on terms that were favorable to the state, saving the state millions of dollars. We routinely appear on behalf of state agencies before the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities at fact-finding sessions and public hearings.
We also successfully defended several appeals during the past year. We obtained favorable rulings from the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in nine appeals. In addition, we are awaiting rulings in a number other cases that we argued in the state and federal appellate courts. Two of those appeals involve lawsuits that were brought by state employees against co-workers who had reported misconduct and/or participated in internal investigations that were conducted by state agencies. In these cases, we urged the courts to find that workers who come forward to report misconduct or incidents of violence or threatened violence in the workplace are entitled to immunity from suit. These cases are significant to encourage employees to report misconduct and to cooperate in investigations being conducted by their employer. We also obtained a favorable ruling from the Second Circuit in a case involving the Department of Correction’s ability to prohibit correction officers from associating with the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The Court upheld the DOC’s right to prohibit such association when it has the potential to disrupt the agency’s operations or threatens the efficiency, safety, or integrity of such operations.
The department continued to work with the Department of Correction in lawsuits brought by several female correction officers who alleged that they were subject to sexual harassment. We assisted the DOC in successfully implementing the terms of a stipulated agreement that made improvements in the manner in which DOC deals with sexual harassment complaints made by its employees.
The department regularly provides legal advice and counsel to state agencies on a variety of employment matters, as employment law is a rapidly evolving area of the law. During the past year we participated in several training sessions and seminars for state employees on employment related issues. For example, we assisted the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women in training employees who have been designated to represent their agencies in discrimination complaints filed with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, pursuant to a 2003 statute. In addition, we provided training to new state managers through a program provided by the Department of Administrative Services. One of our paralegals was recently a presenter at The Hartford's First Annual Paralegal Day Event.
Public Safety and Special Revenue Department
This department represents the Department of Public Safety, including the Division of State Police and the Division of Fire, Emergency and Building Services; the Military Department; the Department of Correction; the Department Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and the Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division. It also provides legal services and representation to a number of associated boards, commissions and agencies, including the Division of Criminal Justice, the Division of Public Defender Services, the Office of Adult Probation, the Governor's Office (Interstate Extradition), the Statewide Emergency 9-1-1 Commission, the State Codes and Standards Committee, the Crane Operator's Examining Board, the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, the Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council, the State Marshal Commission and the Office of Victim Services.
Department of Correction - Although we provide
legal services to and represent a variety of state functions in the area of
public safety and criminal justice, a substantial portion of our work is in
defense of the state in lawsuits brought by and on behalf of prisoners. We continue to defend a large number of lawsuits
challenging conditions of confinement in state correctional facilities and the
administration of community programs.
These lawsuits collectively seek millions of dollars in money damages
and seek to challenge and restrict the statutory authority and discretion of
the Department of Correction. Our
efforts in defense of these cases save the State of
We continue to defend numerous challenges involving conditions of confinement and the application of the "good time" statutes to multiple sentences. We handled numerous appeals in the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts involving the issue of “time calculation.” Our department successfully tried the case of Wiseman v. Armstrong, involving a mentally ill inmate who died while being restrained by correctional staff as they conducted a strip search prior to admitting him to the inpatient medical unit after he assaulted another inmate. After a trial lasting over a month, with numerous experts, the jury came back with a verdict in favor of all the defendants.
Board of Pardons and Paroles - Due to the recent changes in the Board of Pardons and Paroles, we have been assisting the Board in developing and adopting regulations necessary for the functioning of the Board. In particular, we have helped the Board draft appropriate regulations for an administrative pardons process and for revocation and rescission of parole. In addition, we have provided the Board with training on legal issues involving its hearing procedures. Lastly, we have defended the Board in a number of cases where offenders have challenged the denial or revocation parole.
Department of Public Safety - We have the responsibility for the defense and representation of the State Police in almost all lawsuits seeking money damages. Our caseload of police litigation continues grow. In the past year, we successfully litigated a number of cases in federal court and received favorable decisions in many of those cases.
We continue to represent the Department of Public Safety in administrative appeals involving the State Building Code and Fire Safety Code. We successfully defended the department in the case of American Promotional Events, Inc. v. Blumenthal in the Connecticut Supreme Court. The case involved the illegal sale of fireworks. That case represents one of many such cases where the Office of the Attorney General has gone to court to protect consumers from the dangerous consequences of illegal fireworks. We also routinely appear on behalf of the department before the Freedom of Information Commission. Lastly, we review contracts and regulations for the department.
Board of Firearms Permit Examiners - During the
past year, we provided legal advice and representation to the Board of Firearms
Permit Examiners on a number of issues.
We have handled several appeals to the Superior Court from the Board’s
decisions. We continue to work with the Board and the Department of Public
Safety to enforce the firearms laws of the State of
Liquor Control Division - During the past year, we provided the Liquor Control Division with advice on a number of legal issues concerning enforcement of the state’s liquor laws. In addition, we have handled a number of administrative appeals involving the Division.
Special Litigation Department
This Department represents the Governor, the Judicial Branch, the General Assembly, the Secretary of the State, the Treasurer, the Comptroller, the Auditors of Public Accounts, the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Office of State Ethics, the State Properties Review Board, the Judicial Review Council, the Judicial Selection Commission, the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Handicapped and Developmentally Disabled Persons, the Accountancy Board, the Office of the Child Advocate, the Office of the Victims Advocate, the Commission on Children, the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission and the Office of the Chief Child Protection Attorney. In addition, through its Public Charities Unit, the Department protects the public interest in gifts, bequests and devises for charitable purposes; and in cooperation with the Department of Consumer Protection, administers and enforces state laws regulating charities and professional fundraisers who solicit from the public.
In the area of charitable trusts and gifts, the Department conducted investigations and brought actions against several entities to ensure that charitable gifts were being used for the purposes for which they were given. In the area of charitable solicitations, the Public Charities Unit initiated and/or settled a number of significant cases involving misuse of funds solicited from the public.
The Department continues to monitor solicitations by charitable organizations, and provides information to members of the public to assist them in making informed decisions on charitable giving. Currently, 9,409 charities and 74 professional fundraisers are registered with the State. Of the $10.8 million donated to professional telephone solicitors for charitable organizations in 2006, only $3.54 million, or 32.79 % of the total money collected, was actually turned over to the organizations to which the donors thought they were giving. The Department makes this information available to the public so individuals can make informed decisions on contributing to charities.
The Department also represents the interests of the people of the State in appeals by Indian groups from denials of tribal recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) in the United States Department of the Interior and in litigation involving land claims brought by groups claiming Indian ancestry. The Department also provides advice and counsel to numerous state agencies regarding issues of Indian law.
also has participated in litigation and various regulatory proceedings to
prevent harm to Long Island Sound posed by a number of energy projects,
including the Islander East natural gas pipeline and the Broadwater Gas
Terminal. The Attorney General’s efforts
in the Islander East case resulted in an historic victory in the Second
Circuit, effectively ending the project in its current form. Similarly, the Attorney General
coordinated carefully with the State of
has represented the State’s interest in a number of important cases including:
(1) Defended the State’s interests in an action challenging the
constitutionality of the newly enacted Campaign Finance Law in federal
court. (2) Continues to prosecute a
first of its kind lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the State of
Connecticut and the Legislature against the United States Secretary of the
Department of Education to enforce express mandates of the No Child Left Behind
Act which prohibit her from imposing education requirements on the State
without providing adequate funding to pay for them. (3) Defended an action seeking to declare
plays a leading role in the preparation of appeals throughout the office. This year, the Department’s attorneys briefed
and argued a number of significant cases in the State Appellate Court, and the
State Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court and the Second Circuit
Court of Appeals, and other appellate courts.
The Department also operates a Moot Court program for attorneys in the
Office, and plays an important role in the Office’s participation as amicus
curiae in cases before the
Health and Education Department
The Health and
Education Department provides legal services and representation to a broad
spectrum of state agencies, which includes the
This Department also represents the Department of Public Health, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Office of Health Care Access, the Psychiatric Security Review Board, the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Commission on Medical and Legal Investigations overseeing the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the various health licensing boards and commissions.
One of the most
significant developments involving this department during the past fiscal year
concerns the long-standing Sheff v.
O’Neill lawsuit. After a lengthy
trial in November 2007, the parties reached a settlement which was approved by
the legislature in 2008. The new Sheff settlement agreement represents an
important step forward in achieving the goal of quality education for all
During the last
fiscal year, we pursued and were successful in obtaining on behalf of the
Commissioner of Higher Education an injunction against
education-related matter, Blumenthal v.
Highville Mustard Seed Development Corp., this office was successful in
petitioning the Superior Court for the appointment of a receiver for a charter
school to manage the school during its transition to a newly constituted
corporation and board. This is the
first time a receiver has been used in this manner in
The past fiscal
year was extremely busy in terms of nursing home issues. Our office was heavily involved with respect
to the fifteen
provided assistance to the Department of Social Services in connection with the
investigation of the financial viability of the
In fiscal year 2008, our office negotiated the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the Department of Social Services challenging the inability of Medicaid-covered children and adults enrolled in Medicaid managed care to adequately access covered dental services (Carr v. Wilson-Coker, No. 3:00CV01050 (AVC)). The settlement was approved by the legislature and is pending in the U.S. District Court for a “fairness hearing.” The terms of the settlement require DSS to “carve” dental services out of managed care, raise Medicaid rates of reimbursement to prescribed levels and take a series of clearly defined steps designed to improve access to dental care.
We continued to work with the Department of Public Health to further its role as a health regulatory enforcement agency. These activities included, among others, obtaining an injunction in State v. England that prohibits the defendants from selling hearing aids without a license, and achieving the voluntary surrender of a day care facility license held by North Haven YMCA in connection with an administrative proceeding in which numerous charges, some of which were safety-related, had been brought against the license holder. We were also successful in defending a number of challenges to the regulatory authority of DPH and the licensing boards, including the granting of a motion to dismiss an injunction action seeking to preclude the Nursing Board from issuing a decision in a pending administrative proceeding, and the granting of a summary judgment motion in a federal lawsuit which claimed that the manner of administration of a state licensing examination violated equal protection and Rehabilitation Act rights of the plaintiff.
Our office continued to provide a broad array of legal services to the Connecticut State University System this past year. Some of these services included assisting with the preparation and/or revision of policies of the Board of Trustees, determining whether activities under consideration by the System universities complied with applicable laws and regulations, providing advice and guidance to the Chancellor, System Office senior staff and university presidents on a wide variety of issues, assisting the System in the finalization of its Financial Aid Code of Conduct and Lender Code of Conduct, assisting with the development of a policy regarding employee inventions, revising the System’s Asset Valuation Manual and Surplus Property Procedures and defending claims against the System filed in the Superior Court and with the Office of the Claims Commissioner, Freedom of Information Commission and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
continues to provide oversight of all
of Connecticut Health Center presents broad and challenging legal issues that
arise from the operation of an academic health center with a budget approaching
$800 million. Significant legal advice
was given in the areas of human resources, human subjects research, scientific
misconduct, medical treatment, HIPAA compliance, medical staff issues,
residency program issues and the
The members of the Health and Education Department within the Office of the Attorney General work hard to provide the legal services required by the many agencies we represent and advise. At the end of the 2008 fiscal year, this Department had 209 state and federal court cases pending at the trial or appellate level, as well as 187 administrative proceedings pending before various state agencies. Additionally, more than 3,300 contracts were reviewed within this Department during fiscal year 2008.
Health Care Fraud/Whistleblower/Health Insurance Advocacy Department
The Healthcare Fraud/Whistleblower/Health Insurance Advocacy Department had an extremely busy, important and successful year.
Of note this year
was the Health Care Fraud Unit’s involvement in the Haven Healthcare bankruptcy
proceedings. Haven Healthcare consisted
of 25 nursing homes throughout New England, 15 in
The Health Care Fraud Unit recovered more than $10.25 million dollars, bringing the Unit’s total recoveries to over $68 million in eleven years. The majority of the dollars recovered this year came from settlements involving the pharmaceutical industry, most notably approximately $5 million from Merck and $3 million from Purdue Pharma.
The Department also continued to prosecute suits against several medical providers who were illegally billing Medicaid and commercially insured patients. These providers tried unsuccessfully to have the court dismiss our cases. The court uniformly rejected these attempts and have required the providers to answer our complaints and provide us with additional information.
The Health Care Advocacy Unit (“HCAU”) has continued to assist patients and their doctors by resolving disputes with managed care. The broader issues addressed during fiscal year 2008 have been denials of coverage for medically necessary care, the manner in which rates for coverage of out of network medical care are established and utilized by managed care companies, potentially misleading consumer advertising for genetic testing, and physician profiling by managed care companies.
Of note are the following two significant settlements that were reached with HCAU participation in fiscal year 2008: the settlement between the Connecticut Department of Insurance and Assurant Health, et. al., which encompassed a far-reaching action plan to correct its anti-consumer practices, restitution of approximately 1 million dollars and a historically high 2.1 million dollar penalty; and the settlement between the Office of the Attorney General and the Infectious Diseases Society of America over antitrust violations, which establishes a rigorous conflict of interest-free review of its 2006 guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
On the legislative front, the HCAU participated in the drafting of language that closed a significant loophole in the Connecticut Parity law on coverage for residential care for mental health and substance abuse treatment. The new language, enacted in P.A. 08-125, eliminates barriers to medically necessary residential treatment by removing requirements that the patient be an adolescent, that the treatment be provided within three days of an acute hospitalization, and that the residential treatment be an alternative to acute hospitalization.
The HCAU continues to work with the Child Advocate to ensure that children in this state receive the healthcare they require. It has also helped consumers during fiscal year 2007-2008 recover over 1.1 million dollars, over and above the amount recovered for consumers pursuant to the Assurant settlement. These recoveries for consumers derived primarily from illegally billed services and improperly denied claims
The Whistleblower Unit continues to investigate numerous high level and complex matters involving a wide variety of officials and agencies. The Unit completed a comprehensive, in-depth review and issued a report concluding that a Worker’s Compensation deal for an $80 million “Loss Portfolio Arrangement” (“LPA”) was badly handled, possibly costing the state millions of dollars. This investigation into a highly complex “privatization” scheme concluded that the Department of Administrative Services hired a consultant to advise them who lacked the expertise to properly evaluate claims slated for privatization. Based upon the flawed analysis, DAS entered into a contract for the LPA, likely significantly overpaying for the LPA and failing to achieve the anticipated savings.
This department continues to obtain recoveries against those responsible for the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority’s loss of $220 million in a failed energy scheme with the now bankrupt Enron energy company. The present fiscal year’s recoveries for CRRA and its member towns totaled $4,745,000, bringing our overall recovery to date to approximately $165 million. We continue to pursue other defendants in this matter.
Workers' Compensation Department
Compensation and Labor Department represents the Treasurer as the Custodian of
the Second Injury Fund, the Workers’ Compensation Commission and the Department
of Administrative Services in its capacity as the administrator of the state
employees’ workers’ compensation program, as well as DAS Personnel, the Labor
Department, the Office of Labor Relations, the Office of Claims Commissioner,
the State Employees Retirement Commission, the Teachers’ Retirement Board, and
others. The department’s workers’
compensation staff represents the Second Injury Fund in cases involving
potential liability of the Fund for workers’ compensation benefits and
contested workers’ compensation claims filed by state employees, while the
labor attorneys represent the Department of Labor in unemployment compensation
appeals to the Superior Court. The
department also represents the Department of Labor’s Wage Enforcement Division,
collecting unpaid wages owed to
During the past fiscal year, department attorneys and paralegals appeared for the Fund and the State in over 4000 hearings before workers’ compensation commissioners, and in over 100 new unemployment compensation cases in the Superior Court.
department attorneys and paralegals were responsible for recouping $35,320.45
for the Second Injury Fund and $814,361.57 for the State of
The Torts/Civil Rights Department defends state agencies and employees in tort and tort-like civil rights actions, including high exposure personal injury and wrongful death actions. A substantial number of cases arise from alleged injuries at the state educational facilities, such as the vocational high schools and state colleges, and allegations involving children in the care of the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”). The origin of the remainder of cases is spread among many agencies, including the state mental health and mental retardation programs. Many of these cases seek large sums in damages from state coffers.
Department attorneys have saved the State millions of dollars by obtaining favorable judgments or settlements for the State in the courts and at the Claims Commission. In addition, in the past year we obtained some important legal decisions. In Kinney v. State, the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s ruling holding that a Special Act allowing suit against the State in a wrongful death action lacked a public purpose. In Bogle-Assegai v. CCSU, the federal district court rejected the plaintiff’s claims of race discrimination and retaliation finding that there was no evidence of either in granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Favorable settlements were also reached in various personal injury cases.
When any dangerous condition or practice is revealed during our representation, the Department advises agencies regarding the need for physical or policy changes to increase safety.
The Transportation Department of the Office of the Attorney General provides representation for the following state agencies: Department of Transportation ("DOT"); Department of Public Works ("DPW"); Department of Administrative Services ("DAS"); Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV"); Department of Information Technology ("DOIT"); Department of Economic and Community Development, Housing Matters ("DECD"); the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) real property matters; and the Connecticut Historical Commission. In addition, the Transportation Department provides representation for various occupational licensing boards within the Department of Consumer Protection ("DCP"). The representation of the foregoing state agencies/boards includes, but is not limited to, counseling and advice on legal issues, the prosecution or defense of lawsuits or claims in both federal and Connecticut courts, and before various administrative entities, including the defense of claims filed with the Office of the Claims Commissioner pursuant to Chapter 53 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
As a result of the large number of public works projects undertaken by the State during any given year, and the broad scope and complexity of many of these projects, there is a continuing need for the attorneys in the Transportation Department to provide legal assistance to DOT, DPW, DAS and all other state agencies including the Joint Committee on Legislative Management (“JCLM”), the administrative arm of the General Assembly, and the State Contracting Standards Board on public contracting issues. Other legal assistance is provided in the resolution of bid protests, the interpretation of contract language, and other problems that eventually arise during the course of large construction and statewide procurement projects.
This past year has been consumed with the initiation, prosecution and defense of several major lawsuits and appeals. In DOT v. L.G. Defelice this office is seeking recovery of all state costs resulting from the complete failure of the drainage system installed by L.G. Defelice for the reconstruction of I-84 in the Cheshire/Waterbury corridor. After a sinkhole opened up in the early winter of 2006, DOT discovered that the drainage system was a complete failure and the catch basins, metal beam rails and light poles were installed incorrectly over 3 ½ miles of highway. This office worked with DOT to correct those construction failures and pursue those companies responsible for the severely deficient work. In State of Connecticut v. Lombardo Bros. et al., the Attorney General is pursuing contractors who are responsible for the construction failures of the façade and massive leaks at the UCONN Law Library. In State of Connecticut v. Bacon Construction et al, the Attorney General is seeking compensation for the massive leaks at many of the buildings at York Women’s Prison in Niantic. In State of Connecticut v. MAXIMUS Inc, the Attorney General is suing to recover payments made by the state and other damages arising from Maximus’ failure to provide the Departments of Information Technology and Public Safety with a working new COLLECT System for law enforcement activities and motor vehicle violations. In State of Connecticut v. Lamar, we are seeking compensation for the unauthorized clear cutting of eighty-four mature trees on DOT’s property.
In addition, this Department successfully defended or prosecuted several noteworthy appeals before the Connecticut Supreme Court, among them: Department of Transportation v. White Oak, overturning a lower court’s decision which would have allowed White Oak to rearbitrate the same issues it had previously lost and in which judgment in favor of the state in the amount of $1.17 million was awarded and confirmed by the court; C.R. Klewin v. James Fleming et al, overturning a trial court’s decision ordering the state to pay Klewin a purported settlement; Bingham v. DPW, in which the plaintiff appealed a declaratory ruling from DPW that the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act did not apply to the sale of the Norwich State Hospital to the towns of Preston and Norwich.
Procurement issues and responsibility determinations of apparent low bidders on DOT and DPW construction projects and DAS procurement awards continue. This department counsels the DOT, DPW and DAS on all procurement and construction and bidding matters.
Despite the best efforts of all involved, some construction problems simply cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the parties and thus claims for money damages are made against the State. The attorneys in the Transportation Department assist agency personnel with early analysis and settlement negotiations in an attempt to quickly resolve outstanding disputes and minimize the potential adverse financial impact of such claims on the public treasury. Nevertheless, a certain number of claims, both legal and monetary, end up in court or arbitration.
This Department handles all matters involving the Department of Motor Vehicles including all drunk driver cases and complaints regarding dealers and repairers and the emissions program. The successful defense of these cases results in keeping the roads safe from drunk drivers by enforcing the law and helping to close any loopholes in our drunk driving statutes.
is also responsible for handling Historic Commission matters and now and then
is called upon to seek the court’s protection of historic properties which face
destruction by owners or developers. See
C.G.C. §22a-19a. One case currently
before the Court for a second time is the matter of the Grumman St. John House,
part of the Norwalk Inn in
The Department is also responsible for handling housing matters for the Department of Economic Control and Development as well as all employee-housing matters throughout the state and the many foreclosures in which the state has an interest in the property. We have issued Notices to Quit to state employees as well as non-employees to transition employees to rent payers and to evict non-employees. Most of these matters have resulted in amicable settlements.
Our DOT representation also covers all matters relating to eminent domain and rights-of-way issues and surplus property divestitures; any issues as to properties and facilities including all I-95 and Merritt Parkway service plaza facilities; aviation and ports; public transit; rails; the State Traffic Commission; Siting Council issues relating to the use of DOT’s rights of way by transmission facilities, and telecommunication facilities; and all environmental matters including permitting, salt shed and maintenance facilities located throughout the State. During the preceding year we, in conjunction with DOT staff, developed a Master Leasing Agreement for wireless communication facilities on DOT property, which is expected to generate significant ongoing revenue for the State. We disposed of 7 eminent domain appeals by trial, 18 eminent domain appeals by stipulated judgment, 3 voucher approvals and 17 administrative settlements, and received 33 new appeals during the last fiscal year. There are currently 77 eminent domain appeals in litigation. We counseled the DOT regarding the divestiture of 60 surplus properties.
This Department also represents the Department of Environmental Protection in property matters. Of particular significance: the provision of legal services to the Department of Environmental Protection in connection with the procurement of conservation easements resulting in the dedication of thousands of acres to public recreation; and the provision of legal advice on complex property law issues. The value of our legal services to the DEP in real property transactions totaled $21,754,870. These services included 40 conveyances of real property, 14 leases, 34 open space grant agreements, 29 conservation easements, and a total of 10 easements and other agreements.
Our representation of DPW also consists of construction matters as well as handling a large amount of leasing, property management, and environmental challenges on siting issues. During the past year, we provided legal counsel and review of 37 leases, 28 license agreements, and 106 contracts. This is exclusive of DPW real estate transactions in the form of deeds (1) and easements (3) and purchase and sale agreements (3).
In addition to
the noted construction contracting matters, the Transportation Department is
deeply involved in various environmental matters associated with public works
projects, roads and bridges projects, and other activities of our client
agencies. A major continuing
responsibility is to provide appropriate legal assistance and guidance to these
agencies to ensure that there is compliance with applicable federal and state
environmental laws in the planning of projects and the operation of state
facilities. In particular, we assist
these agencies in their efforts to comply with the requirements of the National
Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), the Connecticut Environmental
Policy Act ("CEPA") and other federal and Connecticut regulations
that have been enacted to balance the need to develop our state economy and
governmental services with the need to protect the air, water and other natural
resources of the state. In this regard,
the Department assists the agencies in preparing and obtaining required
environmental permits from both
The Office of the Attorney General is firmly committed to equal employment opportunity. Nearly 50 percent of the full-time attorney workforce consisted of women and minorities. Women and minorities comprised 60% of entry-level attorneys and 45% of middle and high-level attorneys.
The Office of
the Attorney General welcomes volunteers who desire to help and assist the
currently has 10 volunteer consumer advocates who directly assist consumers in
resolving problems they encounter when purchasing goods and services and
helping them obtain the refunds or bill credits to which they are
entitled. In this past fiscal year,
these volunteers donated approximately 700 hours to work for
This office also manages a volunteer summer intern program for students. While the interns are generally law school students, high school, college and graduate school students also participate. These interns are given an inside view of the state’s largest public interest law firm, assist in critical investigations and legal actions undertaken by the Attorney General and help serve the state and its people.
This past fiscal year, 68 interns took part in our volunteer program, working a total of more than 7,000 hours. The total cost to this office for those two volunteer programs was approximately $1,000 for incidental expenses.