Most business relationships are governed by the law of contract. In other words, a written agreement with specific terms, or an unwritten agreement evidenced by years of performance by both sides, will define the boundaries of what each side owes the other. In some situations, however, contractual agreements will be supplemented or displaced by fiduciary responsibilities. Someone bound to the duties of a fiduciary no longer has the freedom to act solely in his or her own best interests within the bounds of contractual terms.
A fiduciary needs to act in someone else's best interests at all times, and must subordinate personal interests to those of someone else whenever a conflict comes up within the relationship. If you need advice about your rights in a case of breach of fiduciary duty, contact the Provost Umphrey Law Firm L.L.P. in Beaumont, Tyler, Little Rock or Nashville.
Who Is Bound to Fiduciary Standards?
Many people are acting as fiduciaries without necessarily being aware of the nature of their responsibilities. Corporate officers, members of a partnership and other relationships within a business entity are fiduciaries to one another and to the shareholders. Misappropriation of corporate or partnership opportunities, self-dealing, conflicts of interest, or disloyalty of action — for example, giving a competitor confidential customer information in exchange for a promise of future employment — all represent breaches of fiduciary duty within a business entity.
Principal-agent relationships also give rise to fiduciary responsibilities. Your stockbroker can't take your money and invest it on his own account. Your real estate agent can't scare away potential buyers for your home, and then buy it herself at a lower price later on. As members of licensed professions, fiduciaries in these capacities are expected to know the standard of performance they must live up to. Our lawyers investigate and pursue claims against persons whose violations of fiduciary responsibilities caused losses to our client.
Examples of Breach of Fiduciary Duty
The Texas fiduciary duty litigation attorneys of Provost Umphrey work with clients who need advice about their legal options when someone else violated an obligation of trust. Here are some examples of the kinds of cases we handle that involve violations of fiduciary responsibility:
- Churning, self-dealing, conflict of interest or negligence on the part of a securities broker or financial adviser
- Ethical violations or negligent errors by real estate agents or brokers
- Abuse of a position of trust by a business partner
- Fraud, misappropriation or incompetence on the part of a guardian, conservator or trustee
Our experience with the enforcement of fiduciary responsibilities does not end with the proof of the breach of duty that cost you money or property. We also know how to pursue remedies against fiduciaries, their employers, their insurance companies or their accomplices to maximize your opportunity for recovering the entire amount of your losses.
Offices in Beaumont, Tyler, Little Rock and Nashville: Call 866-672-2585
For more information about your legal options in a case of dishonesty or irresponsibility on the part of a fiduciary, contact Provost Umphrey for a free consultation in Texas, Arkansas or Tennessee.