Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Maryland Court of Appeals Case Establishes an Independent Action for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Below is a brief note by Booth, J., who wrote the opinion in Plank v. CherneskiThe note briefly explains the court's decision to establishes a breach of fiduciary duty as an independent cause of action: GettyImages-695596764-f85a2ca6141c41f7ba858ffb56e9b1fd


"In Kann v. Kann, 344 Md. 689 (1997), and our jurisprudence that followed, this Court recognized a breach of fiduciary duty claim as an independent cause of action. To establish a breach of fiduciary duty, a plaintiff must show: (1) the existence of a fiduciary relationship; (2) breach of the duty owed by the fiduciary to the beneficiary; and (3) harm to the beneficiary. The remedy for the breach is dependent upon the type of fiduciary relationship, and the historical remedies provided by law for the specific type of fiduciary relationship and the specific breach in question, and may arise under a statute, common law, or contract. A breach of fiduciary duty cause of action should be analyzed on a case- by-case basis. If the plaintiff describes a fiduciary relationship, identifies a breach, and requests a remedy historically recognized by statute, contract, or common law applicable to the particular type of fiduciary relationship, the court should permit the count to proceed. The cause of action may be pleaded without limitation as to whether there is another viable cause of action to address the same conduct. To be clear, this does not mean that every breach will sound in tort, with an attendant right to a jury trial and monetary damages. The remedy will depend upon the specific law applicable to the specific fiduciary relationship at issue."

See, Plank v. Cherenski, Filed July 14, 2020. 

Special thanks to Matthew Bogin, (Esq., Bogin Law) for bringing this article to my attention. 


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