My work as business litigator and parent collided one evening while reading "Are You My Mother?" a popular children's book by P.D. Eastman. As the story goes, a newly-hatched baby bird earnestly asks a series of creatures—none birds—if they are his mother. Baby bird's story ends happily, but not before asking a boat, a plane, and an ornery bulldozer if each—however impossibly—might be his mother. When mother reunites with baby bird, each recognizes the other for who she is. The pairing is both obvious and natural for both characters and the reader.
Plaintiffs in business litigation—sometimes less earnestly—ask a similar question of defendants with whom they may share a business, or even familial relationship. The Question: Are you my fiduciary?
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