Baker v. Brodeur
Only claims that arise out of the entrepreneurial aspects of accounting can violate the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Between 1993 and 2006, the plaintiff, Vincent Baker, played basketball in the National Basketball Association. In 1997, Baker allegedly hired Donald Brodeur and the Brodeur defendants to help him manage his investments. Allegedly, the defendants commingled funds, made misrepresentations of statements of fact, and transferred Baker's investments to third parties, without an exchange of consideration of reasonably equivalent value. Baker sued Donald Brodeur and the Brodeur defendants, alleging that the defendants mismanaged his assets and violated CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The defendants moved to strike the plaintiff's CUTPA count, because the plaintiff's complaint failed to adequately allege entrepreneurial conduct. In Haynes v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, a 1997 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court wrote, "Although physicians and other health care providers are subject to CUTPA, only the entrepreneurial or commercial aspects of the profession are covered, just as only the entrepreneurial aspects of the practice of law are covered by CUTPA." Connecticut Superior Courts have extended the exemption in the Haynes decision to accounting claims. Here, the plaintiff's complaint alleged that the defendants mismanaged his investments and engaged in accounting malpractice. The plaintiff's complaint did not adequately allege that the defendants wrongly solicited his business or advertised in a manner that violated CUTPA. "Rather than alleging facts related to the business practice of the defendants' accounting services," wrote the court, "the plaintiff has merely recast his negligence claims as a CUTPA violation." The plaintiff's purported CUTPA claim was really a negligence claim, and the court granted the defendants' motion to strike.