Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Fiduciary duties arise in many contexts.  A fiduciary relationship generally involves one person acting for the benefit of another person or entity.  The dependent party places trust and confidence in the fiduciary, who, because of the special relationship, must act in good faith to protect the dependent party's interests.  Some fiduciary duties are imposed by statute, and others exist by virtue of common law.  Fiduciary relationships have been found to exist between partner and partnership, employee and employer, administrator and heir, and principal and agent, among many others.  Corporate directors, for example, have a fiduciary duty to their corporations, such that they can be held liable for allowing mismanagement, usurping corporate opportunities, or putting their own self-interest above the interests of the corporation.  

Employees (even those employed at will) owe a fiduciary duty of loyalty to their employer for the duration of the employment relationship.  The fiduciary duty of loyalty is breached if an employee misappropriates confidential information or trade secrets of the employer by sharing the information with a new employer, or solicits the employer's customers, clients or employees prior to leaving the company.  Resignation does not automatically absolve an employee from his or her fiduciary duties.  Some fiduciary obligations survive termination of the employment relationship.  For example, post-termination competition with the former employer may constitute a breach of fiduciary duty if it is founded on information gained during the former employment.

To state a claim for a breach of fiduciary duty under Virginia law, a plaintiff must allege: (1) the existence of a fiduciary duty; (2) a breach of that duty; and (3) resulting damages.  

BerlikLaw attorneys have litigated numerous cases involving fiduciary-duty law, both as plaintiff's counsel and defense counsel.  Whether the alleged fiduciary duty arises from the management of financial affairs, the sharing of confidential commercial information or trade secrets, or a business partnership, we know how to position the case for maximum advantage.  If you or your business has been damaged by a breach of fiduciary duty by a trusted individual, give us a call.  You may be entitled to monetary compensation in a court of law.