June 25, 2008
No Fiduciary Breach
The New York Court of Appeals today held that a lawsuit alleging, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty against an Orthodox rabbi by a women with whom he was alleged to have had a 3 1/2 year intimate affair failed to establish a viable cause of action. The complaint contended that the defendant had counseled the plaintiff on personal and other issues relating to her desire to marry and have children. the defendant allegedly claimed to be "as close to God as anyone could get" and "that he was, in fact 'the Messiah.' "
The court concluded that a fiduciary relationship requires de facto control and dominance. the plaintiff had "voluntarily consented to the 3 1/2 year intimate relationship with [defendant] because she subjectively believed that the 'therapy' he suggested would help her find a husband... no cause of action can be maintained for an extended voluntary sexual affair between consenting adults, even if [plaintiff] could prove that her acquiesence was obtained through lies, manipulation or other morally opprobrious conduct." (Mike Frisch)
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