Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Posted on: October 2, 2014
Arlington Business Lawyers

Breach of fiduciary duty is a broad concept that covers many different types of business relationships. Once a fiduciary relationship is established, an Arlington business attorney emphasizes that the fiduciary has a duty to act in the best interests of the other person. A fiduciary duty is one of the highest standards imposed by law.

Creation of a Fiduciary Duty

In some instances, a fiduciary duty is imposed by statutory law. Examples include a partner and a partnership or a director and a corporation. In other cases, a contract between parties establishes such a duty, as in an attorney-client relationship. While these examples are for the most part commonly understood, other fiduciary relationships are created by the circumstances of the business relationship or financial transaction between two parties. This type of fiduciary duty is less obvious and may be a matter of fact that needs to be judicially determined

Issues to Consider

When a court looks to whether a breach occurred, it will consider:
• Whether a fiduciary duty existed at the time of the alleged misconduct
• If a fiduciary duty existed, what was the nature and extent of that duty
• Determine if the duty and the breach occurred within the scope of the relationship

Although there is no clear cut way to determine that a fiduciary duty has been established, some indications are superior business knowledge and acumen of one party, the reliance of one party on the other and the dominance of one party over the other.

Common Breaches

There are many ways the trust placed in a fiduciary can be violated; among the more common examples are:

• Misrepresentation as to a statement of fact
• Omission as to a statement of fact
• Failure to disclose
• Misuse of confidential information
• Misappropriation of funds
• Self-dealing
• Usurpation of corporate opportunity
• Neglect

Contact an Arlington Business Attorney for Legal Advice

A successful claim of a breach of fiduciary duty may result in a recovery for loss of income, loss of business opportunity and perhaps punitive damages where appropriate. If you believe you have been victimized, call Arlington business lawyer Paul S. Schleifman at 703-528-1021.