Interpreting Administrative Regulations–Part Two

In Part One of my two-part series on interpreting administrative regulations, I discussed my disagreement with the Connecticut Supreme Court’s position, set forth in Sarrazin v. Coastal, Inc., that General Statutes section 1-2z applies to administrative regulations–given that the plain language of 1-2z refers only to “statutes.”  In this post I discuss my disagreement with the Court’s position that an administrative agency’s interpretation of its own regulation is not entitled to any deference unless it is “time-tested, reasonable or the result of formal rule-making procedures.”

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How 1-2z Asks Judges To Do The Impossible

General Statutes section 1-2z has been on my mind lately.  While pondering it, the thought occured to me that, construed literally, the statute asks judges to do the impossible.  Allow me to explain.

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You Make Me Feel (Like An ____ Lawyer)

Check out the latest in musical silliness from the Barrister of the Blues, the Solicitor of Swing, the J.D. of Jazz, etc., etc.

And click here for more mildly amusing musico-legal parodies by Dan Klau.


Interpreting Administrative Regulations–Part One

I hope everyone who celebrates Easter enjoyed the holiday!  Now, back to work.

Last Thursday the Connecticut Supreme Court issued its slip opinion in Sarrazin v. Coastal, Inc., a case concerning the circumstances under which an employee’s “travel time” between his home and work must be treated as compensable work time under state or federal wage and hour law.  The case is a must-read for employment lawyers, which I am not.  What attracted my interest was the Court’s discussion about how administrative regulations should be interpreted.  First, the Court stated that General Statutes section 1-2z–which codifies the “plain meaning rule”–applies to administrative regulations.  Second, it concluded that the State Department of Labor’s interpretation of its own administrative regulation (31-60-10) was not entitled to any judicial deference.

I respectfully dissent from both of these conclusions.  This post addresses the first issue, to wit, the relevance of section 1-2z to interpreting administrative regulations.  A subsequent post will address the issue of deference. Read the rest of this entry »


Legal Health Break

It’s been a long week folks.  Time for a musical break.  Enjoy!

(Hat tip: The Dish)


A Judicial Dilemma In The Age Of Fault-Based Divorce

While reading some historical materials the other day, I came across an interview of a judge, long since deceased, who described how he resolved an interesting divorce case in the years before Connecticut adopted its no-fault divorce statute.  I’m interested in readers’ reactions to how the judge handled the case.

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The Real-World Impact Of The Supreme Court’s Campaign Finance Ruling

What is the likely impact, in the real world of politics, of yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Comm’n, which struck down a federal law that limited the total or “aggregate” amount of money an individual could contribute to candidates and PACs in a federal election cycle? 

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Supreme Court Continues To Gut Campaign Finance Laws

A divided (5-4) United States Supreme Court today struck down a federal law limiting the total or “aggregate” amount of money that a single person can contribute to all federal candidates.   I’m not an authority on campaign finance law, but I do know one thing: if you really want to understand the majority opinion in a Supreme Court case, you should begin by reading the first several paragraphs of the dissenting opinion (if one exists).  Here is what Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan, had to say in the opening paragraphs of his dissent in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Comm’n: 

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When Lawyers Sell Their Reputations (And Their Souls)

A lawyer’s reputation has value.  A good reputation serves as a proxy for years of hard work and success in representing clients, particularly in difficult cases.  There is nothing wrong, improper or unethical about a lawyer using his or her hard-earned reputation to attract new clients in a highly competitive market for legal services.

But a lawyer needs to be very careful not to sell his soul when a potential client wants to retain his services, not for his skills and experience, but for his reputation.  This is particularly true when an individual or a business retains a lawyer to conduct an internal investigation and to issue a public report of his findings and conclusions–like the report recently issued by former federal prosecutor Randy Mastro, a partner with the distinguished firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  The report ostensibly clears New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of any wrongdoing in connection with the George Washington Bridge-closure scandal.

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The “Perkins” Case And The “Legimate Public Concern” Test

If you are a CT-N junkie like me, or have been following reports in other media outlets concerning proposed legislation that would restrict access under the state Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) to crime scene photographs and 911 calls, you’ve probably heard many references to two court cases, one called “Perkins,” the other called “Favish.”   The two cases establish different legal standards for determining when the public disclosure of a government document would constitute an invasion of someone’s personal privacy.  In fact, Don DeCesare, the co-chairman of the Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public’s Right to Know, jokingly said in testimony before a legislative committee two weeks ago that he wished he had never heard of those two cases.  (They were discussed ad nauseam during task force meetings.)

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