ALBANY – A decade after Attorney General Eliot Spitzer dusted off the long dormant Martin Act and deployed it to become the “Sheriff of Wall Street,” the Court of Appeals has essentially deputized private citizens in holding for the first time that common-law tort claims are not preempted by the law.

In affirming the Appellate Division, First Department, yesterday, the Court of Appeals doused what had been conventional wisdom in other state and federal courts, and handed a significant consumer victory to investors and current Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.