Friday, December 02, 2005

D. Mass. Imposes Heightened Pleading for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims under the ICA

The court in Yameen v. Eaton Vance Distributors, Inc., 394 F.Supp.2d 350 (D. Mass. Oct. 14, 2005) has dismissed a breach of fiduciary duty claim for failure to state a claim under FRCP 12(b)(6). In this case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties under Sections 36(b) and (a) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 ("ICA"), 15 U.S.C. ยง 80a-1 et seq. The court wrote: "In cases, such as this one, where a plaintiff alleges that a mutual fund charged excessive fees, 'a complaint must state more than a legal conclusion that a fee is excessive in order to survive a motion to dismiss.' Krantz v. Fidelity Mgmt. & Research, Co., 98 F.Supp.2d 150, 158 (D.Mass.2000). 'Conclusory allegations in a complaint, if they stand alone, are a danger sign that the plaintiff is engaged in a fishing expedition.' DM Research v. College of Am. Pathologists, 170 F.3d 53, 55 (1st Cir.1999)."

After stating the six factors relevant to determining whether a fee is excessive, the court dismissed the plaintiff's claim because it appeared to implicate only one of these factors.


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