Saturday, September 4, 2010
AS SEEN IN:
"A Cry For Help: The Tracey Thurman Story"
AS PLAYED BY:
Philip Baker Hall
From the New York Times:
By ALFONSO A. NARVAEZ
Published: November 6, 1988
M. Joseph Blumenfeld, the former chief judge of the Federal District Court in Connecticut, died of heart failure yesterday at Hartford Hospital. He was 84 years old and lived in Bloomfield, Conn.
Judge Blumenfeld, who was appointed to the Federal bench in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, was still active as a Senior Judge, carrying a full court calendar despite his official retirement in 1977. He suffered a heart attack in his chambers on Friday.
During his 27 years on the bench he was considered one of the state's most lenient and liberal Federal judges and decided several cases of national significance.
He was the first Federal judge in the nation to allow a woman to sue the police for failing to adequately protect her against an abusive husband. The woman, Tracey Thurman, of Torrington, Conn., was awarded $2.3 million in 1985 and her success paved the way for about 20 other women across the nation to seek redress in Federal courts in similar cases.
During his career, Judge Blumenfeld ordered state officials to pay for abortions for welfare recipients even when the mother's life was not in danger. He also ordered Connecticut officials to undertake an extensive outreach program to inform the poor that they were eligible for food stamps.
Judge Blumenfeld was born in St. Paul on March 23, 1904. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1925 and a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1928.
Among his other decisions, Judge Blumenfeld approved the $1.5 billion merger between the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation and the Hartford Fire Insurance Company in 1971 and later rejected efforts by Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate, to have the case reopened to determine if President Richard M. Nixon had intervened in the settlement of antitrust cases against the company.