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What is breach of fiduciary duty?

| Aug 2, 2017 | Business Torts |

Many successful Manhattan business relationships are built on trust. When parties feel that they can trust each other, they may have the confidence necessary to form mutually beneficial commercial relationships. On the other hand, if parties do not feel that they can trust each other, the overall business climate can be negatively affected. This is why the victims of these breaches of trust can often have recourse to our legal system to seek damages for their losses.

One kind of breach of trust that our legal system recognizes is breach of fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is an obligation to act in the best interests of another party. For example, if an attorney is entrusted with client funds, that attorney has a fiduciary duty to the client. The attorney is required to act in the best interests of the client with regards to the stewardship of the money.

Breach of fiduciary duty is often classified as a business tort. If a person with a fiduciary duty fails to act in the best interests of the person owed the duty, the person owed the duty may be able to recover damages from the person with the fiduciary duty. The person owed the duty may be able to recover their actual losses incurred; they may also be able to recover punitive damages.

In order to recover, a person owed a fiduciary duty must prove some elements. They must prove that the defendant owed them a duty. They must also prove that the defendant breached this duty, and they must prove that they suffered actual damages as a proximate cause of the breach.

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