Breaches of Fiduciary Duty

Business owners typically have people they trust to act in their best interest under certain circumstances, and it’s no mystery why this is necessary. It often takes a village to build a successful business, and business owners need to have a network of people who are willing to do what’s best for the company at all times. This legal duty falls in the hands of someone known as a fiduciary — but what happens if these people exploit their position and take advantage of the trust provided to them?

If business owners suspect a breach in fiduciary duty, they should try to get it sorted as soon as possible. Otherwise, there might be irreparable damage done to the business, both from a financial and reputational standpoint. 

Attorney David H. Schwartz is all too familiar with situations like these. He is proud to make it his job to step in and promptly figure out what the next course of action should be for a company that has experienced a breach of fiduciary duty. Below you can find out more about fiduciary duty, what it means, and how to contain and overcome breaches when they arise.

What is a Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is a professional entity or an individual who holds a position of trust and responsibility to another party. A fiduciary duty, then, is an explicit or implicit mandate that instructs fiduciaries to always act in the best interest of their beneficiaries. If these individuals perform acts that contradict what’s best for the beneficiary or client, they can be charged with breach of their fiduciary duty.

Understanding Breaches of Fiduciary Duty

A breach in fiduciary duty occurs when a fiduciary relationship is in effect and the fiduciary performs acts that are not in the best interest of their client or beneficiary. Breaches can be done with an ulterior motive, but they can also be the result of negligent or misguided behavior. Examples of breaches of fiduciary duty can also stem from a communication failure, often leading to misinterpretations, misguided advice, and misunderstandings. Here are some examples of breaches in fiduciary duty:

2007 Banks v. Mario Indus., 274 Va. 438, 650 S.E.2d 687

In this case, an employee who should have represented Mario Indus’s best interest formed a competing company while still under the employ of the business owner. They used confidential company information to set up their business, which was why they were subsequently charged with breach of fiduciary duty.

2004 Halifax Corp. v. Wachovia Bank, 268 Va. 641, 604 S.E.2d 403

For four years, the plaintiff’s comptroller embezzled over $15 million by writing checks and depositing them into other accounts.

2002 Patel v. Anand, L.L.C., 264 Va. 81, 564 S.E.2d 140

The fiduciary withheld information from its principal in order to influence the approval of a transaction.

Proving Breach of Fiduciary Duty

As a business owner, if you suspect that your fiduciaries have done something breaches their fiduciary responsibilities, you should file a lawsuit with the help of an experienced business litigation attorney. To successfully win a case involving a breach of fiduciary duty, the following elements must be established:

  • Duty – the existence of a fiduciary relationship (and duty) should be established
  • Breach – the fiduciary must have breached their duty by performing acts that are not in the best interest of the business
  • Damages – the breach should have resulted in business damage, financial damage, and/or reputational damage

Business owners based in San Francisco, California or the San Francisco Bay Area who believe that their business has been victimized by a breach of fiduciary duty should get in touch with a skilled and trusted corporate litigation attorney like David H. Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz has been instrumental in resolving commercial disputes throughout the Bay Area, including for clients in San Jose, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda County, and Oakland. He will have your best interest in mind at all times as he seeks justice for you and your business.

Pursue Your Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuit

Attorney David H. Schwartz has extensive experience as a commercial litigation attorney in San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay Area. For decades, he has been handling breach of fiduciary duty cases and is proud to do everything he can to help his clients reach a successful resolution. He will always fight for fair compensation in return for any damages that resulted from a breach of fiduciary duty.

Ready to begin the litigation process? Start by scheduling a case consultation with the Law Offices of David H. Schwartz today.


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