Joseph Bierwirth Comments on First Circuit Decision of Breach of Fiduciary Duties Claims Against Mount Ida College

April 13, 2020

Joseph L. Bierwirth Jr, chair of Hemenway & Barnes’ Litigation Group, was quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s article, “Dismissal of class action vs. shuttered college affirmed.”

The case, Squeri, et al. v. Mount Ida College, et al., brought by former students against Mount Ida College, alleged that the College breached its fiduciary duty by concealing its financial distress to students. In its decision, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said, “[W]e reject the plaintiffs’ assertion that this court should ‘expand the law’ and establish a fiduciary duty between a college and its students.”

Joe noted, “a key takeaway from the decision is that an allegedly injured party cannot create a fiduciary duty and survive a dispositive motion simply by alleging a relationship of trust, faith and confidence.”

Additionally, Joe commented that, “The case also is noteworthy as another example of a court recognizing the exclusive authority of the attorney general to see to the due application of charitable funds unless a plaintiff can establish special standing,” he said, pointing out that no plaintiff in the case could point to any facts that conferred an interest in the financial operations of Mount Ida that differed in kind from that of the entire student population.

To read the full article, please click here: “Dismissal of class action vs. shuttered college affirmed”