law-breach-of-fiduciary-duty |

BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY

The elements of a breach of fiduciary duty claim are (1) a fiduciary relationship between the plaintiff and
defendant, (2) a breach by the defendant of his fiduciary duty to the plaintiff, and (3) an injury to the plaintiff
or benefit to the defendant as a result of the defendant’s breach.  Lundy v. Masson, 260 S.W.3d 482, 501
(Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, pet. denied).  Unlike a fraud claim, a claim for breach of fiduciary duty
does not require a plaintiff to establish reliance.  See id. (listing elements of the claims).


The elements of a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action are (1) a fiduciary relationship must exist between
the plaintiff and the defendant, (2) the defendant must have breached its fiduciary duty to the plaintiff, and
(3) the defendant's breach must result in injury to the plaintiff or benefit to the defendant. See Johnson v.
Brewer & Pritchard, P.C.,  73 S.W.3d 193, 200-01 (Tex.2002) (discussing element of improper benefit);
Linder v. Citizens State Bank of Malakoff, 528 S.W.2d 90, 94 (Tex.Civ.App.-Tyler 1975, writ ref'd n.r.e.)
(setting forth all elements except improper benefit). "Where the underlying facts are undisputed,
determination[s] of the existence, and breach, of fiduciary duties are questions of law, exclusively within the
province of the court." Meyer v. Cathey, 167 S.W.3d 327, 330 (Tex.2005) (quoting Nat'l Med. Enters. v.
Godbey, 924 S.W.2d 123, 147 (Tex.1996)). Generally, agency is a special relationship that gives rise to a
fiduciary duty. See, e.g., Johnson,  73 S.W.3d at 200.

BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY (BOFD) CAUSE OF ACTION

The elements of a breach of fiduciary duty claim are: (1) a fiduciary relationship must
exist between the plaintiff and defendant; (2) the defendant must have breached this
duty; and (3) the breach must result in injury to the plaintiff or benefit to the defendant.
Jones v. Blume, 196 S.W.3d 440, 447 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2006, pet. denied).
Hill v. Hoelke (Tex. App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 12, 2009)(Taft)
(investment dispute,
breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud, and promissory estoppel)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by
Justice Tim Taft  
Before Justices Taft, Bland and Sharp
01-07-00702-CV John Hill v. Frederick F. Hoelke and Frederick F. Hoelke, P.C.  
Appeal from 151st District Court of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Hon. Caroline E. Baker  


FIDUCIARY DUTY OF CORPORATE OFFICERS: Texas law clearly provides that a corporate officer owes a
fiduciary duty to the corporation. See, e.g., Moreno v. Ashworth (In re Moreno), 892 F.2d 417, 421 (5th Cir.
1990) ["This duty encompassed, at least, a responsibility not to lend [the corporation's] money to himself or
corporations controlled by him on less than an arms-length basis."]. See also, Star High Yield Inv. Mgmt.
Corp., Inc. v. Schwartz (In re Schwartz), 2008 WL 3285770 at *5 (Bankr. S.D.Tex., Aug.7, 2008) ["Corporate
officers owe fiduciary duties to the corporations they serve and they are without authority to act in any
manner in which their interests are adverse to that of the corporation."], citing 15 TEX. JUR. 3d Corporations
§ 283 (2007) and cases cited therein.


As we have already addressed, the evidence was legally and factually sufficient to support the trial court’s
determination that Hoelke did not breach his agreement with Hill. Assuming without deciding that a fiduciary
relationship existed between Hill and Hoelke, we conclude that there was more than a scintilla of evidence
supporting the trial court’s finding that Hoelke did not breach any fiduciary duty he might have owed Hill, and
the trial court’s judgment was not so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence as to be clearly
wrong and unjust. Footnote  See City of Keller, 168 S.W.3d at 810; Arias, 265 S.W.3d at 468.
Therefore, we hold that the evidence was legally and factually sufficient to uphold the trial court’s finding that
Hoelke did not breach any fiduciary duty that he might have owed to Hill.


In order to prevail on a breach of fiduciary duty claim, a plaintiff must prove:  (1) the existence of a fiduciary
relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant, (2) a breach by the defendant of his or her fiduciary
duty to the plaintiff, and (3) an injury to the plaintiff or benefit to the defendant as a result of the breach.  
Lundy v. Masson, 260 S.W.3d 482, 501 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, pet. denied).  
An attorney can breach his or her fiduciary duty to a client by, among other things, failing to disclose a
conflict of interest, failing to deliver the client's funds, placing his or her personal interests over those of the
client, misusing client confidences, taking advantage of the client's trust, self-dealing, and making
misrepresentations.  See Goffney v. Rabson, 56 S.W.3d 186, 193 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, pet.
denied).
Brown v. Green (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Sep. 1, 2009)(Hedges)
(
legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty) (SJ for defendant affirmed)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Chief Justice Hedges    
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brock Yates and Frost  
14-08-00592-CV Willard E. Brown III v. George Maynard Green and Sheehy, Lovelace & Mayfield, P.C.  
Appeal from 74th District Court of McLennan County (name of judge not shown on docket)
While a substantial relationship between prior representation and a subsequent case could be relevant in
determining whether the attorney breached a fiduciary duty, such a relationship is neither sufficient nor
necessary to raise a fact issue as to breach.  Id. at *4.  Accordingly, to show breach based on misuse or
disclosure of confidential information, Brown was required to produce evidence of actual misuse or disclosure
but was not required to establish a substantial relationship between representations.


Chicago Title Co. v. Home Loan Corp. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 24, 2007)(Edelman)
[real estate closing dispute,
breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, BoFD, error preservation]
AFFIRMED AS MODIFIED: Opinion by Justice Edelman
Before Justices Fowler, Edelman and Guzman
14-04-01059-CV        Chicago Title Insurance Company v. Home Loan Corporation d/b/a Expanded
Mortgage Credit
Appeal from 215th District Court of Harris County (
Judge Levi James Benton)


claims for breach of fiduciary duty . To recover for such a claim, a plaintiff must establish (1) the existence of
a fiduciary relationship; (2) breach of the duty; (3) causation; and (4) damages. Parks-Davis Auctioneers,
Inc. v. Verna Drilling Co., 589 S.W.2d 168, 169 (Tex. Civ. App.--El Paso 1979, writ dism'd).
01-02-00023-CV

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