Ferri v. Powell-Ferri
Trustees of a trust that benefits a former husband may not qualify as "debtors" under Connecticut's fraudulent transfer act and may be able to transfer the assets to another trust without violating the act. When the defendant, Nancy Powell-Ferri, filed to dissolve her marriage, the trustees of a 1983 trust allegedly distributed all of the assets to the trustees of another trust, the 2011 trust. The trustees of the 1983 trust requested a declaratory judgment from court that they validly exercised their powers and that Nancy Powell-Ferri has no right, title or interest to the assets of the 2011 trust. Nancy Powell-Ferri filed an answer, special defenses and counterclaim, alleging fraudulent transfer, in violation of the fraudulent transfer act. The trustees moved to strike and argued that they do not qualify as "debtors" under Connecticut's fraudulent transfer act. Nancy Powell-Ferri requested that the court adopt a broad definition of the term "debtor" that includes anyone acting as an agent for a debtor. Connecticut General Statutes §52-522b(6) defines "debtor" as "a person who is liable on a claim." The court did not find any Connecticut court decisions on point that discuss whether a trustee or agent of the debtor qualifies as a "debtor" under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Ruling on an issue of apparent first impression in Connecticut, the court found that Nancy Powell-Ferri's fraudulent transfer claims are not viable under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. There are no allegations that Nancy Powell-Ferri's former husband participated in the alleged fraudulent transaction. "[T]here is not a single case," wrote the court, "that supports [Powell-Ferri's] position that a third party can be liable for making a fraudulent transfer as to a party to whom the third party is not a debtor." The trustees of the 1983 trust are not legally responsible to Nancy Powell-Ferri with respect to her claims against her husband, and the court granted the trustees' motion to strike.