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What is Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

A fiduciary is a person who has a legal or ethical duty to act in the best interests of another party. When a fiduciary fails to do so, this is called a breach of fiduciary duty. A person who suffers losses due to a breach of fiduciary duty may be entitled to financial compensation via a lawsuit. In this article, we take a closer look at a breach of fiduciary duty in Georgia. 

Examples of Fiduciary Relationships

Before examining what constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty, it is first necessary to gain an understanding of the various types of fiduciary relationships. There are many types of fiduciary relationships, including:

  • An attorney-client relationship
  • An accountant-client relationship
  • A principal-agent relationship
  • An executor-heir relationship
  • A guardian-ward relationship
  • A trustee-beneficiary relationship
  • A corporate officer-shareholder relationship
  • An employer-employee relationship

Elements of Breach of Fiduciary Duty

In order to succeed in a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove the following four elements: 

Duty: A fiduciary duty is the responsibility of someone to act in the best interests of someone else. To establish the existence of a fiduciary duty in court, the plaintiff must demonstrate the existence of a special relationship of trust between him or her and another party.

Breach: Next, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the other party to the lawsuit violated his or her fiduciary duty by doing something contrary to the plaintiff’s interests.

Damages: In addition to duty and breach, the plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered a loss of some kind. 

Causation: Finally, a plaintiff must prove that the fiduciary’s breach caused the damages he or she suffered. If the damages suffered were unrelated to the breach or were not a foreseeable consequence of the breach, then the plaintiff won’t succeed in a breach of fiduciary duty action.

Examples of Breach of Fiduciary Duty 

Examples of breach of fiduciary duty include:

  • Theft
  • Dishonest accounting
  • Self-dealing
  • Incompetence 
  • Conflict of interest
  • Conversion
  • Fraud
  • Excessive fees

Statute of Limitations for Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Georgia

In Georgia, there is no specific statute of limitations for breach of fiduciary duty claims. Rather, Georgia courts determine this on a case-by-case basis. When determining the statute of limitations in a breach of fiduciary duty case, courts examine the nature of the injury and conduct giving rise to the breach of fiduciary duty.

Contact a Georgia Business Litigation Lawyer 

If you need assistance with a business litigation dispute involving a breach of fiduciary duty claim, you need an experienced Georgia business litigation attorney on your side. At Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson, we have extensive experience helping clients with business disputes of all kinds. When you come to us for help, we will do everything in our power to ensure that your case is a success. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our talented attorneys.