BROWN & BROWN, INC. v. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, ATTORNEY GENERAL; RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, ATTORNEY GENERAL v. BROWN & BROWN, INC., SC 18334
Judicial District of Hartford
Antitrust; Investigative Subpoenas; Whether the Antitrust Statute Prohibits Disclosure of Information Obtained via an Investigative Subpoena to Anyone Outside the Attorney General's Office; Whether the Attorney General can Unconditionally Disclose such Information in a Court Proceeding or to an Official of Another Jurisdiction. As part of an investigation of potential antitrust violations in the insurance industry, the defendant issued a subpoena duces tecum and interrogatories to the plaintiff insurance company pursuant to General Statutes § 35-42. Subsections (c) and (e) of § 35-42 provide that no information obtained through an investigative subpoena or interrogatories shall be available to or disclosed to the "public." Subsection (g) provides that such information may be shared with officials of other jurisdictions. The parties disagreed about whether § 35-42 prohibits disclosure to any person outside the defendant's office. Following the production of its first stage of responsive material, the plaintiff filed an action seeking a declaration of the scope of the confidentiality protection provided by § 35-42. The next day, the defendant filed an application for an order of compliance with the subpoena. The two proceedings were consolidated by the trial court. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment in its action, which was denied by the court. In reaching its decision, the court concluded that, because the statute does not state that the information shall not be available to "anyone" or "any person," it cannot be read as prohibiting a limited disclosure to outside individuals when such disclosure is necessary to advance the statute's purposes, namely, the investigation of possible antitrust violations and the preparation for court proceedings. This limited disclosure would not violate the statute because the information would not be available to or disclosed to the "public," a term that the court construed to mean the community at large as a group. The court also rejected the plaintiff's argument that it is entitled to notice and an opportunity to object in the event that any information obtained pursuant to § 35-42 is offered during court proceedings. Further, the court determined that § 35-42 does not require officials of other jurisdictions who receive such information pursuant to subsection (g) to conform to the public nondisclosure provisions of subsections (c) and (e). The plaintiff's appeal from the court's ruling was dismissed by the Supreme Court for lack of a final judgment. Thereafter, in the declaratory judgment action, the plaintiff filed a second motion for summary judgment and the defendant also moved for summary judgment. Adopting its earlier decision, the court granted summary judgment for the defendant and denied the plaintiff's motion. As to the application for an order of compliance, the plaintiff filed an answer and special defenses, which the defendant moved to expunge on the ground that the application did not constitute a civil action such that the rules of practice apply. The trial court granted both the motion to expunge and the application for an order of compliance. In the present appeal, the plaintiff challenges those rulings.