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Anne_C, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience:  Business litigator, 15 years' experience
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Can they seek legal remedy for breach of fiduciary duty

Resolved Question:

I was employed at a company for 2 years. I worked my way up to where I handled the books but was always considered just an accounting clerk. The company closed and laid everyone off on the 28th of March. I got a new job but did go back a few times to help them out. (twice, maybe) They are now sending me a letter stating that I "promised" to gather a pluthera of information (which I did not) and that even though I am no longer employed there, they are seeking legal remedy for their failure to file their taxes on time because I breached fiduciary duty. Do they have a legitimate claim? I am in Massachusetts.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Anne_C replied 9 years ago.


  1. What was your job title?
  2. Were you a corporate officer?
  3. Are you a CPA?
  4. Had you ever filed their taxes before?
  5. If not, do you know who filed their taxes in the past?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Anne_C's Post: 1 Accounting Coordinator
2 No
3 No
4 No
5 An outside accounting firm (coincidentally belonging to the owner's father)
Expert:  Anne_C replied 9 years ago.


The tort of breach of fiduciary duty is something that corporate officers can be sued for, if they are not loyal to a corporation. Shareholders can sometimes be sued as well, especially if they do something to affect the value of the stock.

Sometimes, employees can be sued for breach of fiduciary duty because, for example, they take confidential information to a competitor; or they work for a competitor at the same time. Employee breach of fiduciary duty is usually associated with "key" employees who hold a position of "trust and confidence."

Because you were an accounting coordinator; you were not a corporate officer (and probably not a shareholder); and you had never filed that company's taxes before and were not asked to do so, I don't think that you would be considered as having been in the necessary position of "trust and confidence".

I don't think that if they did sue for "breach of fiduciary duty" that the company would win. Do keep in mind, though, that people file meritless lawsuits all the time -- so you should talk to an attorney in your area (you will need a business attorney) if they continue to threaten you.

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