Breach of Fiduciary Duty: 7 Facts to Know (Pt. 3)
February 16, 2015
Here’s the final installment to our blog series Breach of Fiduciary Duty: 7 Facts to Know.Breach of Fiduciary Duty: More Important Info 5 – The burden of proof in breach of fiduciary lawsuits is on the plaintiff.This may be a little-known fact regarding breach of fiduciary duty claims, but it is, nevertheless, important to know when people may be considering moving forward with these cases against some allegedly negligent fiduciary.
The fact of the matter is that the person who makes breach of fiduciary duty allegations (i.e., the plaintiff) will carry the burden of proof in these cases. This effectively means that plaintiffs will need to provide sufficient evidence of the following in order to establish their cases (and position them for success):
- A fiduciary relationship did, in fact, exist between the plaintiff and the defendant (i.e., the fiduciary who has allegedly breached his duties).
- This fiduciary failed to live up to his legal obligations in this position.
- The specific breach(es) in the case caused harm to the plaintiff in some way.
Proving these facts in court can be more difficult than people may realize, however, so it’s strongly advised that anyone considering pursing breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits retain an experienced lawyer to help them build and present the strongest possible cases.6 – When plaintiffs are successful in breach of fiduciary lawsuits, punitive damages may be available.
Another important fact people should be aware of when they are plaintiffs or defendants in breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits is that these cases can result in punitive damages. In contrast to compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate people for their specific financial losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the negligent or reckless party and, in doing so, ideally deter that party from behaving in the same negligent manner in the future.
Here, it’s also critical to point out that punitive damages:
- Are NOT always awarded in these cases
- Can significantly increase the recovery in breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits when they are awarded
- Can serve as powerful leverage in negotiations, as defendants may be far more willing to try to settle these cases before trial when they face the possibility of this type of compensation being awarded.
While we’ve discussed some important facts about breach of fiduciary duty claims in California so far in this blog series, perhaps the more crucial fact to know if you are a fiduciary or if you have fiduciaries managing assets for you is this: when any breach of fiduciary matters arise, you can count on our San Fernando Valley estate planning lawyer to help you bring these issues to successful resolutions.
After all, these cases can be complicated, and how they turn out can have significant impacts on your finances, professional life, reputation and/or future. So, make sure you are positioned for success in your case by trusting it in the hands of our experienced San Fernando Valley estate planning attorney.San Fernando Estate Planning Attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman
When you are ready for experienced help resolving breach of fiduciary issues – or with any estate administrating matters, you can turn to the trusted San Fernando estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita and the greater Los Angeles area.