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$18 million verdict: black eye for Connecticut's Blumenthal



Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Attorney General who is now running for U.S. Senate, has long been a subject of fascination to this site because of his remarkable success in pushing businesses around. Many other state AGs have been known to grandstand on occasion, take overreaching legal positions, try cases in the press, use aggressive litigation tactics, and so forth, but few if any have combined these practices into a smoothly humming machine the way Blumenthal has. Over his career, despite -- or perhaps because of -- these propensities, Blumenthal has enjoyed an almost unremittingly good press, and all the favorable coverage has presumably contributed to his high standing in voter popularity polls.

A trial outcome late last month might do something to change that. In a verdict the Hartford Courant called "stunning", a jury awarded $18 million to Gina Malapanis, a computer firm owner who had been the target of a lengthy and aggressive Blumenthal crusade. Malapanis's firm, Computers Plus, had sold computers to the state government for years, and when state officials decided that the machines they were getting did not match the specifications they thought had been agreed on, they protested. Blumenthal proceeded to sue for $1.75 million, and send out aggressively worded press releases. More dramatically, police arrested Malapanis at her Hebron, Ct. home., on criminal charges that were later dropped.

Malapanis sued claiming that Blumenthal had violated her rights and ruined her business in part through false allegations. It's hard from a distance to sort out the details, but it sure sounds as if the jury wasn't buying Blumenthal's defense. Besides the Hartford Courant account, details on the verdict also appeared in the Waterbury Republican-American, a paper critical of Blumenthal, which called him a "one-man wrecking ball".

Connecticut political columnist Don Pesci sees a wider pattern, and in earlier posts offered plenty of details about Blumenthal's distinctly aggressive pursuit of a Bethel tea and herbal product vendor and an Enfield wood-pellet company.

Reading through the stories, you do wonder whether at some point they might even begin to affect Blumenthal's political untouchability.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.