A dozen lawyers filed a class action against Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and two other constitutional officers Tuesday in an attempt to stop her from transferring $2 million from a fund that helps victims of dishonest lawyers.
Officially filed Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court the lawyers allege that by taking money from the Client Security Fund, Rell is violating the separation of powers between the judicial and executive branches of government.
The transfer of $2 million from the fund was approved during February’s budget mitigation session and the transfer is expected to occur April 1. The lawsuit was filed in an effort to stop that transfer.
“This lawsuit has become necessary because the Governor of the State of Connecticut, Defendant M. Jodi Rell, recently determined that the Fund should be invaded, and $2 million of the Fund’s assets should be confiscated by the State of Connecticut,” the lawsuit states.
An estimated 30,000 lawyers and judges pay $110 per year into the fund, which is managed by a volunteer group of lawyers and judges.
The plaintiff lawyers are also alleging due process violations in their class action complaint. According to the lawsuit the lawyers paying into the fund never anticipated that their annual payments to the fund could be converted into a tax, over an above, the occupational tax lawyers must pay to be admitted to the practice.
The lawsuit was written by Ernest Teitell, of Silver, Golub and Teitell in Stamford.
The plaintiffs include: Jacob D. Zeldes, William R. Davis, Charles A. Deluca, William F. Dow III, Kathryn Emmett, William F. Gallagher, Hugh F. Keefe, Kathleen L. Nastri, Hubert J. Santos, Hope C. Seeley, Matthew Shafner and Frederic S. Ury.