On April 19, 2017, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in favor our client, TrizecHahn, in a case involving the interaction of the Bankruptcy Code and state law. Matthew Hamermesh argued the matter on appeal for TrizecHahn, and the Hangley Aronchick team also included Mark Aronchick.

The case involved a Dragonetti Act claim against the client, a real estate developer, and its attorneys, who had been trying to collect a judgment. The Superior Court ruled that the Bankruptcy Code preempted a claim based on one piece of earlier litigation, because the earlier case was litigated in bankruptcy court, even though it was filed in state court and only later removed.

We argued that bankruptcy preemption applied because:

  • While the earlier action was filed in state court, the defendants removed it to bankruptcy court almost immediately, even before their preliminary objections were decided;
  • Most of the Dragonetti Act claim was focused on things that happened in bankruptcy court; and
  • The defendants chose to litigate the earlier action in bankruptcy court, but then chose not to use the litigation-misconduct remedies available there.

The Superior Court adopted these arguments fully.

Read the opinion