A fiduciary duty is an obligation that arises when one has a legal duty to act in the best interests of another. For example, a business partner has a fiduciary duty to their other partners. When a party fails to uphold their obligations, it could be a breach of their fiduciary duty. In a corporate or other commercial setting, a breach of fiduciary can result in contentious business litigation.
Fiduciary relationships can exist in any number of situations. They can be created by contract, imparted by statute or implied as a matter of law by the actions of the parties in the relationship. Fiduciary duties are often financial relationships, but not always. Most common fiduciary duties occur when one party is placed in a position of extreme trust — like a lawyer, an accountant, a corporate board member, a trustee, a conservator or the executor of an estate — vis a vis another party.
To determine whether a breach occurred, one must first determine whether at fiduciary duty existed at the time the disputed act(s) — or failure to act — occurred. If the duty existed, the nature, scope and duties inherent to the fiduciary relationship must be examined. Finally, the facts must establish whether, within the scope of the fiduciary relationship, a breach of duty occurred.
Florida businesses who suspect that they were owed a fiduciary obligation that was not upheld — or anyone who has been accused of breaching a fiduciary duty — need the advice of an attorney with extensive experience in corporate law. Fiduciary duties are not always apparent, and in some cases, can be inferred by the actions of parties. A seasoned lawyer can analyze the matter, make recommendations for the best course of action, and when necessary, litigate the issues.
Source: FindLaw.com, “Breach of Fiduciary Duty,” accessed on Feb. 18, 2018