Consumer Bankruptcy Journal Summer 2017 - Page 43

THE PREEMPTION OF STATE COURT CLAIMS with the two motions it had filed in the bankruptcy action. Id. Carmen was not satisfied with the bankruptcy sanctions alone, however. Carmen then filed an additional action in state court, alleging abuse of process based on the same bankruptcy petition. Murpenter moved to dismiss the case, arguing that federal law preempted any state law claim based on abuse of the bankruptcy process. The trial court agreed with Murpenter, revisiting the analysis of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Stone Crushed P’ship v. Jackson, 908 A.2d 875 (Pa. 2006). The court noted that bankruptcy law provides for sanctions that are similar to relief under state abuse of process claims, suggesting that recognizing a separate claim would be akin to allowing double recovery. It also discussed the all- encompassing nature of bankruptcy, as well as the constitutional indication that bankruptcy law be uniform across the country. Finally, the Carmen court found that allowing abuse of process claims in state courts may chill debtors from exercising their bankruptcy rights, a considerable public policy concern. The court thus concluded that Pennsylvania has rightly sided with the majority of states in holding that state abuse of process claims are preempted by federal bankruptcy law. See e.g. Longnecker v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co., No. 3-806 / 12-2304, 2013 Iowa App. LEXIS 1303 (Iowa Ct. App. 2013); see also PNH, Inc. v. Alfa Laval Flow, Inc., 958 N.E.2d 120 (Ohio 2011). When “It Seems Only Fair” to Invoke Preemption While the Carmen court treated the filing of a petition as a black hole for any abuse of process claim, the Pennsylvania Superior Court also recently discussed the issue, providing more nuance to preemption. The case of Oberdick v. Trizechahn Gateway began when Trizechahn obtained a $3.3 million judgment against Oberdick in connection with unpaid rent for his law firm’s office space. Oberdick v. Trizechahn, 2017 Pa. Super. 112, *4 (Apr. 19, 2017). As part of its collection efforts, Trizechahn filed a state court action against Oberdick under the Pennsylvania Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Id. After moving to dismiss the action, Oberdick filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and notice of removal in the state court action. Id. at 4-5. The Trizechahn claim then proceeded as an adversary action in the bankruptcy court. Id. After Oberdick was victorious, he filed suit against Trizechahn under the Dragonetti Act, Pennsylvania’s statute governing the wrongful use of civil proceedings. Id. Oberdick argued that the Trizechahn claim was “procured, initiated and continued in Pennsylvania state court,” and thus was not preempted by federal law. Id. at 9. The trial court agreed, but also included the requisite language for a permissive appeal to the Superior Court. Id. at n.6. The Superior Cou 'B&WfW'6VB&WGW&pFFR&6W2b7FR7'W6VBखBB"gFW"F67W76rFRvVW&FVBb6w&W72F&VVBFPVF&RfVBb&'WF72vV0FRFffW&VB&'WF7&f60&fFrf"( WVfVB&FV7F( ЧFFRG&vWGF7BFR7WW& 6W'BǗVBFR7V6f2VvF0g&&W&F6( 2VFVB6BFW6R6VFVB62FBG&V6fVBFFVǒ&W7BFF66fW'&WVW7G2GW&rFR&'WF77FF7&Vv&FVBFVFƖW26WB'FP6W'BfVBF&W7BFVff'G2f &W6WFB&W6VFVB7V6f0VvVFǒg&VGVVBG&6fW'2F7W'@G26W6Rb7FBB"V6bFW6R62FR7WW&"6W'@FVBWB&VfW'&VBF6GV7B`G&V6( Ɩ&'WF76W'B( B@"V62&v’FFFǒ&W&F6BfVF&ǒ&VfVBFPF766Fb67VW"&'WF7GF&W27VW"#p66Rg&7FFR6W'BBFV6ƖVBF6VV67F2vRFRGFW"v07FVFr&'WF76W'BBB"2FRVFRFf6FW0&V6VBFB( 2GFW"bƖ7@6VV2ǒf"FB&W&F66V@r&R&V6VFVBg&&VVfGFrg&Ц6֖"7FFR6W6Rb7F( B@2WfW'F~( 2&vvW"FW2( 06VFr&V6fW'f"g&fW0&'WF77F0FRVFRFf6( 2F67W76`vVFR6GV7B67W'&VB2vV2FRFfn( 2fVF'W6RbFP&'WF7&6W72ffW'2FVFF7F7F2FB&R6֖"FF6PF67W76VB֖&GW&6F7F20W7Ff6Ff"fFr&VVF6VRwW'>( gVBf"6ƖVB&Bbf&&&Rf&&C"""B&"B#6VR6&6V&W&rbEd&V6Vf&W2b2&R&6V&W&rCs""3p&"2Bf#"F6w&VVpvFf&FV26W'BFV66F@VB'W6Rb&6W7262&R@&VVFVB'&'WF7rFW6P֖&GW&6F7F2G6ǒ@FFW27W&VR6W'BFBǗVB&F6FW2bFR77VRVFFVǒfFrFBǒ6R'W6Pb&6W7262&R&VVFVBखw&&W"bgWVFV'F"67W6V@Rb27&VFF'2bg&fW2fƖw2&'WF77F#s2r6BccFW#7V6f6ǒFRFV'F '&VvB7FFR6W'B7VBVvrF@GfW'6'7FfVBv7B&'WF76W'Bv2&W&ǒfVBखBFR66RWfVGVǒ&V6VBFPFW27W&VR6W'Bv6F67W76V@V6bFR66W&2G6ǐ66FW&VB&GW&6F7F2FRw&&W"6W'B&Vv'FrF@&VVF67W'2vV6w&W707Vff6VFǒWfFV6W2FRFVBFW6W6fVǒ67WfVBbr "vV6VFVW26Ɩ6P276&R"7&VFW2'7F6P45TU"$%UD5U$C