Houston Business Litigation Lawyers
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
There is no higher duty imposed by law than the duty of a fiduciary to a beneficiary. People such as trustees, business partners, and officers and directors, among others, are charged with acting in the best interest of those they represent. While many fiduciaries uphold their duties, some put self-dealing before their beneficiaries. Our firm frequently litigates matters involving a breach of the fiduciary obligation and prevails in recovering not only damages but also a disgorgement of any money received by the party who breached the duty owed. As a fiduciary, loyalty is owed and if a fiduciary has breached the duty of loyalty and trust and wrongfully benefitted, we can help.
How Does The Law Define Fiduciary Duty
The elements of a claim for breach of fiduciary duty are: 1) there is fiduciary relationship between the plaintiff and defendant; 2) the defendant breached his fiduciary duty to the plaintiff; and 3) the defendant’s breach proximately caused injury to the plaintiff or benefit to the defendant. A fiduciary is expected to operate in the utmost good faith, candor, openness, honesty, and with a total absence of any concealment or deception. The duty owed by a fiduciary is one of loyalty and good faith, strict integrity and accountability, and fair and honest dealing. Some of the most common types of fiduciary relationships include:
- Trustees of estates and beneficiaries
- Officers and directors of corporations
- Corporate officers of charities
- Attorneys and clients
- Doctors and patients
Understanding Fiduciary Duty
Fiduciary duty refers to several duties imposed on fiduciaries by law. These include:
- Duty of Care – Before making any business decisions, fiduciaries must consider all information reasonably available to them.
- Duty of Loyalty – Fiduciaries are not allowed to use their position to further their own interests.
- Duty of Good Faith – Fiduciaries are expected to advance the interests of their beneficiaries, not violate the law, and fulfill their duties.
- Duty of Confidentiality – Fiduciaries are required to keep corporate information confidential and not disclose it for their own benefit.
- Duty of Prudence – Fiduciaries are required to exercise the degree of care, skill, and caution that any prudent fiduciary would use.
- Duty of Disclosure – Fiduciaries must act with complete candor and in some instances must disclose all information relevant to a business decision.
What To Do If A Breach In Fiduciary Duty Has Occurred
A breach of a fiduciary duty is a serious allegation and can have significant detrimental consequences to a business. If you suspect a breach of fiduciary duty including any possible violation of the duty of care, loyalty, good faith, confidentiality disclosure and fair dealing has occurred, you need to immediately contact an experienced business attorney. Our firms’ attorneys will be able to analyze the situation, collect evidence, and pursue the best course of legal action to preserve your best interests and assets. At Walston Bowlin, our lawyers provide aggressive and efficient representation to our clients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.