Blumenthal responds to Pratt & Whitney

By John O'Brien | Oct 22, 2009


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal reiterated Wednesday that he should be allowed to file an amicus brief in the case of a company that is defending its choice to move 1,000 jobs out of the state.

Pratt & Whitney, an aircraft engine manufacturer, had argued that Blumenthal's request was inconsistent with the concept of filing amicus briefs. Blumenthal's reponse says he has an interest in protecting the citizens of Connecticut.

"The State's position with respect to the merits of this litigation should have no bearing on the state's fitness to participate as amicus," Blumenthal said.

"The State seeks amicus status to advance the public interest, just as it did in the underlying negotiations. Nor can there be any reasonable claim that the State's participation here will somehow delay or hinder a resolution to the issues."

"On the contrary, the state's interest and knowledge will facilitate a complete and appropriate conclusion of critical and legal issues. The State is ready and eager to meet any expeditious timeframe the court may set and to present whatever substantive materials may be helpful."

District Lodge 26 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers which alleged the company's plans violate a labor agreement. Pratt & Whitney plans to move the jobs to Georgia, Japan and Singapore

"The State fails to provide any legal support to allow its participation in any way other than to file an amicus brief," attorneys for the company wrote.

"To the extent the Attorney General views 'participation' as more than an opportunity to file a legal brief, this Court should deny the request as inconsistent with the concept of amicus curiae.

"Giving the Attorney General a more expansive role in what is a contractual dispute between two private parties would also break with prior precedent in Connecticut, give the State an unclear 'quasi-party' status, interfere with the rights of the parties to have a timely, fair and equitable resolution of their dispute, and may serve as a platform for more partisan pronouncements by the Attorney General."

Blumenthal has been active against other companies' plans to lay off workers.

Currently, the state's Department of Public Utility Control has, after hearing arguments from Blumenthal's office, put a hold on planned layoffs by Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas.

Blumenthal said an investigation is needed to determine if the layoffs will threaten safety and reliability or conflict with rate orders.

Also, he has criticized 75 layoffs at AT&T.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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