Fiduciary Litigation Practice
Fiduciary Litigation Practice
The Forman Law Firm’s growing fiduciary litigation practice encompasses not only investors who have suffered injury at the hands of untrustworthy brokers, but also a broad array of fiduciary matters.
Certain professionals owe those whose interests they represent a “fiduciary duty,” which is the highest duty imposed by law. These professionals are generally known as fiduciaries. And sometimes, they fail to live up to the high standards required of them. Attorney Bryan Forman is well-versed in identifying when a breach of fiduciary duty has occurred, and in helping clients of the Forman Law Firm recover the losses they have suffered as a result.
What Is A Fiduciary?
A fiduciary is someone who acts on your behalf, in whom you place a high degree of trust and confidence. You rely on them to exercise their expertise and best professional judgment in your interest. A fiduciary owes the person for whom they act (known as the principal) the highest legal duty of care and loyalty. While the specifics may vary depending on the fiduciary’s profession, generally a fiduciary owes a principal:
- The duty to be honest;
- The duty to act in good faith and deal fairly;
- The duty to fully disclose all relevant information and any potential conflict of interest;
- The duty to perform competently; and
- The duty not to benefit itself at the principal’s expense.
Some examples of fiduciary relationships include:
- Investment advisor/client;
- Corporate officer /shareholders; and
- Executor of estate/heirs.
What Constitutes a Breach of Fiduciary Duty?
A fiduciary breaches its duty when it acts against the principal’s interests for its own benefit. Here are some ways this can happen:
- An investment advisor encourages her client to buy stock in a company in which she has an ownership interest, without disclosing that interest to the client.
- The trustee of a trust manages trust assets for her own personal gain – she purchases property from the trust for an amount below market value, thereby enriching herself and harming the trust’s beneficiary.
- An executor overcompensates himself for his services from estate property.
Breach of fiduciary duty claims are also increasingly common against attorneys. Even if an attorney has not committed legal malpractice, he may have breached his fiduciary duty to his client by making a profit from managing the client’s assets, for instance, or by using a client’s confidential information to his benefit.
Remedies for Breach of Fiduciary Duty
A claim of breach of fiduciary duty may be one of many possible causes of action in a particular situation, but where the duty and its breach are clear, it may be easier to prove. To prove a breach of fiduciary duty claim, you must demonstrate the existence of a fiduciary relationship between the parties, a breach, and damages caused by that breach. In some cases, the law imposes a fiduciary duty. One example of this is the duty that federal law imposes on investment advisors. In other cases, it may be possible to prove that a duty grew out of the facts and circumstances surrounding the relevant events.
If you have proved a breach, a variety of remedies are available. These include:
- Compensation for financial losses;
- Return of any fees paid to the fiduciary;
- Disgorgement of any profits the fiduciary gained through self-dealing;
- Equitable remedies, such as the imposition of a constructive trust; and
- Exemplary damages, where fraud and bad faith are involved.
If you are concerned that you may have suffered financial losses or other damages as a result of a fiduciary’s improper behavior, your best course of action is a confidential consultation with an experienced attorney. Contact The Forman Law Firm today, at 866-597-2221, or via the contact form on our website. Let us put our knowledge to work for you.