SW Legal Educational Publishing

Guru Finds Inner Peace; Disciples Find Fraud
Description Former disciples of yoga guru allowed to proceed in fraud and misrepresentation action when, after years of low-paid labor and celibacy, they claim to have discovered he was taking huge sums of money and enjoying sex.
Topic Contracts
Key Words Fraud, Misrepresentation, Unfair Trade Practice
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Fourteen "disciples" of self-proclaimed yoga guru Desai, who ran a non-profit yoga fellowship, lived at his 350 acre estate. While they were there, some for as long as 20 years, they contributed their money and then labor for little compensation, for the chance to follow his guidelines: chastity, poverty, and such. When they discovered that Desai had earned huge sums and had numerous sexual relations, they were disillusioned and sued him on numerous grounds. Desai sought to have the complaint dismissed.
Decision The claims for fraud, misrepresentation, and unfair trade practice under Massachusetts' law may go forward. His alleged misrepresentation of his celibacy and poverty could be shown to have been misrepresentation that could cause people to devote resources to his foundation. If they can show that Desai knowingly misled them, there may be grounds for fraud. If they can show that Desai abused their trust and enriched himself in the process, there may be an unfair trade practice in violation of Massachusetts' law. Disillusionment and bewilderment are not grounds for legal action; they must show they suffered from "the deliberate manipulations of a clever swindler."
Citation Dushkin v. Desai, --F.Supp.2d-- (1998 WL 54072, D. Mass.)
37 F. Supp. 2d 55 (D. Mass., 1999)

Back to Contracts Listings

©1997-2000  South-Western, a division of Cengage Learning, Inc. Cengage Learning is a trademark used herein under license.