The First Department, in a case remitted by the Court of Appeals, determined the six-year statute of limitations applied to “breach of fiduciary duty” causes of action because fraud allegations were at the heart of the claims. Where, as here, a “breach of fiduciary duty” cause of action seeks monetary damages and not equitable relief, the three-year statute of limitations usually applies. However, where, as here, allegations of fraud are central to the fiduciary duty cause of action, the six-year statute of limitations applies:
… [A] cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty based on allegations of actual fraud is subject to a six-year limitations period” … . An exception to this rule exists ” if the fraud allegation is only incidental to the claim asserted'” … . Thus, “where an allegation of fraud is not essential to the cause of action pleaded except as an answer to an anticipated defense of Statute of Limitations, courts look for the reality, and the essence of the action and not its mere name” … .
Here, although the fiduciary duty claims seek monetary relief, the six-year limitations period applies because the claims sound in fraud. Cusimano v Schnurr, 2016 NY Slip Op 01758, 1st Dept 3-15-16
CIVIL PROCEDURE (SIX-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS APPLIES TO BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY CLAIMS WHICH SOUND IN FRAUD)/FRAUD (SIX-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS APPLIES TO BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY CLAIMS WHICH SOUND IN FRAUD)/FIDUCIARY DUTY, BREACH OF (SIX-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS APPLIES TO BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY CLAIMS WHICH SOUND IN FRAUD)