Friday, June 3, 2011

Not every relationship involving trust entails fiduciary duty

CONFIDENTIAL RELATIONSHIP OF TRUST: Does it give rise to fiduciary duty? Fiduciary duties arise as a matter of law in certain formal relationships, such as attorney-client or trustee relationships. See Meyer v. Cathey, 167 S.W.3d 327, 330 (Tex. 2005) (per curiam); Crim Truck & Tractor Co. v. Navistar Int'l Transp. Corp., 823 S.W.2d 591, 593-94 (Tex. 1992). In addition, an informal fiduciary duty may arise from a moral, social, domestic, or purely personal relationship of trust and confidence. Associated Indem. Corp. v. Cat Contracting Co., 964 S.W.2d 276, 287-88 (Tex. 1998). However, "not every relationship involving a high degree of trust and confidence rises to the stature of a fiduciary relationship." Meyer, 167 S.W.3d at 330 (quoting Schlumberger Tech. Corp. v. Swanson, 959 S.W.2d 171, 176-77 (Tex. 1997)). The existence of a confidential relationship giving rise to an informal fiduciary duty is ordinarily a question of fact, but it becomes a question of law when there is no evidence of such a relationship. Crim Truck & Tractor, 823 S.W.2d at 594. The existence of fiduciary relationship must be based on "actual facts of the relationship between the persons," rather than subjective beliefs. Trostle v. Trostle, 77 S.W.3d 908, 914 (Tex. App.--Amarillo 2002, no pet.) SOURCE: Austin Court of Appeals - 03-09-00452-CV - 6/3/11

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