The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined several causes of action including fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of constructive trust, and breach of contract should not have been dismissed as time-barred:
“‘[W]here an allegation of fraud is essential to a breach of fiduciary duty claim, courts have applied a six-year statute of limitations under CPLR 213(8)'” … . * * * … [P]laintiffs discovered the alleged fraud in 2019 and the cause of action was timely commenced within two years. * * *
… [T]he statute of limitations on the cause of action for the imposition of a constructive trust did not begin to run until 2019, when [defendant] allegedly breached his promise … . …
“[I]n order to determine the statute of limitations applicable to an action for a declaratory judgment, a court must examine the substance of the action. Where it is determined that the parties’ dispute can be, or could have been, resolved in an action or proceeding for which a specific limitation period is statutorily required, that limitation period governs” … . * * *
… Supreme Court erred in concluding that the causes of action alleging fraud in the inducement and promissory estoppel are time-barred. The statute of limitations for those causes of action is six years … . …
The statute of limitations applicable to a breach of contract cause of action is six years (see CPLR 213), “and begins at the time of the breach, even when no damage occurs until later, and even though the injured party may be ignorant of the existence of the wrong or injury” … . Statharos v Statharos, 2023 NY Slip Op 04226, Second Dept 8-9-23
Practice Point: Here the criteria for determining the applicable statute of limitations for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of constructive trust, declaratory judgment, promissory estoppel, fraud in the inducement and breach of contract are discussed in some detail.