No cause of action for aiding client's breach of fiduciary duty
While this blog is devoted to trust and estate litigation, I will occasionally discuss business litigation because that is a substantial part of my practice and the practice of Sanders, O'Hanlon & Motley. The concept of fiduciary duty often comes up in both business and probate litigation. For example, partners owe each other a fiduciary duty and attorneys owe their clients a fiduciary duty. But how about an attorney who allegedly assists a client's breach of fiduciary to his partners? Does Texas recognize a cause of action against the attorney for aiding and abetting the client's breach of fiduciary duty? No, at least according to the First Court of Appeals in Span Enterprises v. Wood. The court first noted that the client owed no direct duty to the partners because there was no express attorney-client relationship and no such relationship was shown by implication. The court then refused to expand Texas law to allow a non-client to bring a cause of action for ‘aiding and abetting’ a breach of fiduciaryduty, based upon the rendition of legal advice to an alleged tortfeasor client. On the subject of business litigators, Happy Birthday to Super Lawyer Roger Sanders.