The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Penn, Michele


SC20227 - Metcalf v. Fitzgerald ("In this appeal, we are asked to determine whether the United States Bankruptcy Code provisions permitting bankruptcy courts to assess penalties and sanctions preempt state law claims for vexatious litigation and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq. The plaintiff, Jonathan S. Metcalf, brought state law claims against the defendants, Michael Fitzgerald, Ion Bank (bank), Myles H. Alderman, Jr., and Alderman & Alderman, LLC (law firm), for alleged vexatious litigation and for unfair and deceptive business acts or practices during the plaintiff's underlying bankruptcy proceeding. The plaintiff appeals from the trial court's granting of the motion to dismiss filed by Alderman and the law firm, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that federal bankruptcy law preempts the claims. The trial court determined that the outcome of the motion was controlled by the Appellate Court's decision in Lewis v. Chelsea G.C.A. Realty Partnership, L.P., 86 Conn. App. 596, 862 A.2d 368 (2004), cert. denied, 273 Conn. 909, 870 A.2d 1079 (2005). The court in Lewis held that the Bankruptcy Code preempted CUTPA and vexatious litigation claims for alleged abuse of the bankruptcy process. Id., 605–607. The plaintiff contends that the court in Lewis did not properly evaluate each of the three types of preemption by which Congress manifests its intent to preempt state law and failed to consider the relevant Bankruptcy Code provisions. See 11 U.S.C. § 105 (2012); Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9011. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")