West Palm Beach Breach of Fiduciary Duty Attorney

In simple terms, a fiduciary is someone with “discretionary power” over the interests of other people, in circumstances that provide incentive and opportunity to abuse that position. A trustee is the prototypical fiduciary, but there are many other relationships that fall into that category, especially in modern society with increasingly complex business relationships and the growing use of advisers and other professionals claiming special expertise.

There doesn’t have to be a legal relationship for a fiduciary duty to arise. In Florida, it’s a long established principle that a fiduciary relationship can derive from a social, personal, domestic, or even moral responsibility. The essence of it is that any person who undertakes to advise and act for someone who is in a considerably weaker position―forced to depend on that advice and action—should be held to a very high standard of conduct.

Apart from trustees, fiduciary duties are imposed in many businesses relationships, including partnerships, limited liability corporations, and principal-agent relationships.

Duty of a Fiduciary

A fiduciary’s basic duty is to act in the interests of the people to whom he owes the duty: the beneficiaries. This means that the fiduciary must be loyal, in the sense of putting the beneficiary’s interests above his own, and must exercise care in carrying out his duties to the beneficiary. What these rather vague statements mean is that the fiduciary must:

Typical Breaches

Only the trustee’s imagination limits the kinds of misconduct that may occur. Some of the most common forms of trustee misconduct include:

Florida Treats Breach of Fiduciary Duty as a Tort

In Florida, breach of fiduciary duty is an intentional tort. Recovery depends on establishing three elements:

The tort claim is civil, but in some cases the fiduciary’s actions would also support criminal charges by the state.

Remedies for Breach

Once a breach of fiduciary duty has been proven, the injured party is entitled to collect an amount of damages that will fully compensate for the harm suffered. The nature of the harm varies considerably from case to case, and can be difficult to prove. In appropriate cases, punitive damages can also be recovered.

Depending on the type of harm, equitable remedies like injunctions, constructive trusts, requiring the fiduciary to give up profits earned by the breach, and accountings can be ordered.

Get Help in Boca Raton, Florida

If you are involved in a business or investment relationship that has blown up, and are facing or bringing a breach of fiduciary duty claim, we can help you determine:

These cases are always complex, and the more complex the business in which the parties were engaged, the more complex the case becomes. Most of the relationships that create a fiduciary status involve very specialized activities that your attorney must understand in depth, and be able to explain in detail.

Todd A. Zuckerbrod understands exactly what kinds of evidence and activity will meet the fiduciary standard, and what kinds and amount of evidence will establish or refute claims of a breach. Mr. Zuckerbrod has worked in the financial sector for decades, and understands all aspects of fiduciary law. Call today for a free consultation.