January 2021

Posted January 28, 2021

John G. Lenoir, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Catherine E. Lenoir v. Frances Heinig, C.A. No. 2020-0036-PWG (January 12, 2021)

       In this case, the son of the decedent, as personal representative, sought an accounting and reimbursement for alleged breaches of duties committed by decedent’s daughter, who had acted as decedent’s agent.  The most recent wrongful act alleged in the Petition occurred on or around September 15, 2016. In Delaware, a three-year statute of limitations generally applies to claims for breach of fiduciary duty. The Petition wasn’t filed until January 20, 2020. Thus, unless the usual time period to file was tolled, the Petition would be time-barred by laches, which typically follows the statute of limitations. It is the petitioner/plaintiff that has the burden to prove tolling.    

       Here, Petitioner argued his claims were tolled because he did not receive certain financial information until July of 2019 and that that information was what provided him with knowledge of the claims at issue. But the Master rejected that contention as the Petition itself demonstrated knowledge of “some discrepancies” well before July of 2019 and, thus, Petitioner had been on inquiry notice more than three years before he filed the Petition.  Further, the Master relied on documents incorporated into the Petition also showing inquiry notice as of September 2016.  

       The Master recommended that the action be dismissed as time-barred.