Conn. High Court Blocks Broker Document Release

The Connecticut Supreme Court has blocked a move by state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to publicize confidential subpoenaed business documents from a Florida insurance brokerage. 
Reuters reported that the state’s high court threw out a lower court ruling in Blumenthal’s favor in a dispute with brokerage Brown & Brown as part of a contingent commission probe. Reuters said the company had already turned over about 12,000 documents to Blumenthal’s office.

Blumenthal insisted that Connecticut antitrust law allowed him to share the subpoenaed documents, including with people outside his office, to further his investigation and prepare cases for prosecution.  Brown & Brown disagreed and took the dispute into court in 2006 after failing to reach a confidentiality agreement with Blumenthal’s office.

Citing the potential for prejudice, Chief Justice Chase Rogers said in the latest decision that the law bars disclosure of information gathered in an antitrust probe “to all persons outside of the attorney general’s office, with the exception of officials of other states and the federal government.”

In a statement issued after the ruling posted on his office’s Web site, Blumenthal said he is considering asking the state legislature to pass a measure overturning the Supreme Court’s decision.

“Our investigation of Brown & Brown will continue as part of our ongoing larger insurance investigation,” Blumenthal said in the statement. “Our insurance investigation has already uncovered and helped stop a culture of bid rigging, concealed contingent commissions and other anticompetitive practices, and has returned nearly a billion dollars to businesses, individuals and state taxpayers.”

The Supreme Court ruling is here