Marital Torts

Nancy Lasater and John Guttmann of Maryland were both attorneys who had been  married to each other for 27 years before their divorce.  John handled all the family finances.  They had a joint checking account where their paychecks were deposited.  They both wrote checks on the account.  Statements came to the house, but Nancy never looked at them.

When she finally did look at their finances, Nancy says she discovered that John had mismanaged them and spent all their money on bad real estate investments and other expenses (including a large collection of compact disks).  She sued John for the torts of conversion, intentional infliction of mental distress, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.  John moved to dismiss Nancy’s lawsuit, and filed his own complaint for divorce.

The court granted John’s motion to dismiss, saying that, even if it happened the way Nancy says it did, her claims failed as a matter of law.  We’ll be taking a look at each claim and the law and the facts surrounding them in the next series of blogs.