Deceit and Betrayal: Perspectives on Fraud and Breach of Fiduciary Obligation
This seminar focuses on contemporary applications of the law of fraud and fiduciary obligation, including situations in which an actor deceives the beneficiary of a fiduciary obligations owed by the actor. The seminar will begin with two sessions that cover the historical origins of fraud and fiduciary obligation and their subsequent evolution. The remainder of sessions will focus on specific situations and issues of contemporary interest. These may include, among other topics: (1) remedies for breach of fiduciary obligation, including forfeiture of compensation; (2) criminalization of fiduciary breach, including “honest services fraud;” (3) frauds directed at members of groups with which the fraudfeasor shares an ethnic, political, or other affinity; (4) aiding and abetting or lending knowing assistance to another actor’s fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation; (5) the liabilities of auditors and other gatekeepers in the event of fraud within the gatekeeper’s client; (6) the individual liability of employees and other agents for fraud and other torts committed within the scope of employment or authority; (7) the role of victim consent to wrongful conduct, including the validity of exculpatory provisions in the parties’ agreement; (8) standards of conduct applicable to broker/dealers and others who furnish investment advice; (9) duties owed to employees who own equity in a professional-services or business firm, in particular in connection with the sale of control of the firm. The reading material for the seminar will include a selection of cases and other primary legal materials, plus scholarly publications. Each student must write a research paper on a topic approved in advance by the instructor.
Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.