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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: July 14, 2018

Court Finds Claims Timely Under Fiduciary Tolling Doctrine

On June 27, 2018, Justice Schecter of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Miller v. Suky, 2018 NY Slip Op. 31374(U), finding claims timely under the fiduciary tolling doctrine, explaining:

Although plaintiff fails to establish equitable estoppel, the SAC sufficiently alleges a fiduciary relationship between plaintiff, 19 Hotel and Owners on the one hand and the Individual Defendants on the other, which persisted until at least May 2011 (initiation of the Bankruptcies). Under the fiduciary tolling doctrine, a fiduciary relationship tolls the statute of limitations on actions brought by the beneficiary of the relationship against the fiduciary until termination of that relationship. As May 2011 was less than six years prior to the July 2014 filing of plaintiffs initial complaint, the SAC sufficiently supports fiduciary tolling.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted). The court noted in a footnote that

The Appellate Division, First Department has held that fiduciary tolling applies to claims for accounting or equitable relief, but not monetary damages. Disgorgement, even if framed as equitable relief, may truly be categorized as monetary damages. Because plaintiff seeks an accounting in addition to other purportedly equitable reliefs, the court will not opine further on the limits of fiduciary tolling, an issue which the parties have not briefed.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

It is common for the statute of limitations to be an issue in complex commercial litigation. While statute of limitations questions often are straight-forward, this decision shows that there are special situations where the statute of limitations has special rules. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have questions regarding whether a claim is barred by the statute of limitations.

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