Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thought for Today

Many forms of conduct permissible in a workaday world for those acting at arm's length, are forbidden to those bound by fiduciary ties. A trustee is held to something stricter than the morals of the market place. Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is then the standard of behavior. As to this there has developed a tradition that is unbending and inveterate. Uncompromising rigidity has been the attitude of courts of equity when petitioned to undermine the rule of undivided loyalty by the 'disintegrating erosion' of particular exceptions. Wendt v. Fischer, 243 N. Y. 439, 444, 154 N. E. 303. Only thus has the level of conduct for fiduciaries been kept at a level higher than that trodden by the crowd. It will not consciously be lowered by any judgment of this court.
—Chief Judge Benjamin Cardozo, writing in Meinhard v. Salmon, 249 N.Y. 458, 164 N.E. 545, 62 A.L.R. 1 (1928).
I wonder whether Cap'n Queeg has ever perused this bit of purple prose. If he has, it's dollars to doughnuts that he sprained his brain on the fifty-dollar vocab and went on his merry way no whit the wiser.
And what, in particular, has prompted this musing? Never mind; it would bore you stiff.


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