Legal Memorandum: Breach of Fiduciary Duty Actions in NY

Issue: What is the statute of limitations with regard to breach of fiduciary duty actions involving recording artists?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Breach of fiduciary duty; Statute of limitations; Recording artists
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 737 F.2d 229; 892 N.Y.S.2d 45; 549 N.Y.S.2d 317
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2013

Frank Mgmt., Inc. v. Weber, 145 Misc. 2d 995, 549 N.Y.S.2d 317 (Sup. Ct. 1989) (action by Billy Joel’s manager against his former manager (and ex-wife); ex-wife made counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty (the “Frank” of Frank Management was ex-wife’s brother); court concluded six-year period applied, but held that period began to run from date of breach; discovery rule could not apply and claim was not tolled under doctrine of continuous representation because, under facts of case trust, confidence, reliance and disparity of professional knowledge were minimal, and wrongs alleged related to several separate, independent business decisions).

Parrish v. Unidisc Music, Inc., No. 603786/04 (Sup. Ct. Sept. 24, 2008) (action for royalties based on 1982 agreement, which may have been terminated by written agreement in 1983; inquiry about royalties was made 15 years later; plaintiff also sought declaratory judgment that signature on termination agreement had been forged; court applied six-year limitations period for fraud and concluded claim was barred; discovery rule could not save claim because plaintiff admitted he learned defendants claimed rights to his work in 1998; he never received a copy of the termination agreement or remembered it; “the fact that the plaintiff . . . chose not to question his attorney about the details of the defendant’s claim of right and concededly chose not to read the agreements he signed with defendants is insufficient since ‘a signer of an agreement is deemed to be conclusively bound by its terms . . . .”), aff’d, 68 A.D.3d 566, 892 […]

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