Maryland Divorce Lawyers have received some important guidance from a recent opinion issued by Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals.
The opinion in Lasater vs. Guttman denied wife’s far reaching claims arising from a divorce ending a chaotic marriage between two high powered Montgomery County Lawyers. The court upheld the trial court’s summary judgment on wife’s claim for conversion, intentional infliction of emotional harm, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
“ The court’s bottom line is that the marital relationship does not automatically give rise to any duties that are actionable in tort.
The need for clarification follows the 2004 decision by the Court of Appeals abolishing the doctrine of interspousal immunity in Maryland in Bozman vs. Bozman. It is one thing to allow an individual injured in an auto accident to sue his or her spouse for negligent driving. It is quite another to litigate alleged economic impropriety occurring over decades.
The court’s bottom line is that the marital relationship does not automatically give rise to any duties that are actionable in tort. Any such claims must be consistent with traditional tort law. Lasater vs. Guttman will be particularly helpful in analyzing possible claims based on a breach of fiduciary duty or confidential relationship. This is the topic of another posting.