Regardless of the merits of a plaintiff’s claim, she will be unable to have her day in court if she fails to file suit before the statute of limitations expires. This principle is especially important to breach of fiduciary duty claims, because the statute of limitations governing such claims is elusive and highly dependent on the precise nature of the claims alleged.
In Matter of Hersh, 198 A.D.3d 766 (2d Dep’t 2021), the Appellate Division, Second Department, addressed the timeliness of a breach of fiduciary duty claim asserted in a family dispute pitting mother against son in connection with the administration of his father’s estate. This case also addresses fiduciary duty claims that arise from some underlying fraudulent act—here, the son’s alleged forging of the father’s signature on a document that transferred significant assets to the son. Where fiduciary duty claims arise from such fraudulent acts, plaintiffs must be highly vigilant about performing due diligence if there appear to be any red flags.