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AMI 1513 Fiduciary Duty—Definition—Relationship Undisputed

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 1513
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 15. Malpractice and Breach of Fiduciary Duty
AMI 1513 Fiduciary Duty—Definition—Relationship Undisputed
At the time of the (occurrence)(transaction), (defendant) was the (describe) of (describe).
A fiduciary relationship exists between a and a .
[Here insert a description of the duty].
[The existence or performance of an agreement between the parties does not prevent the existence of the fiduciary duty which arises from the relationship itself.]
[Self-dealing by a fiduciary (without consent) is always a violation of the duty, even if innocent and unintentional.]
NOTE ON USE
In the first paragraph, describe the particular legal relationship giving rise to the duty, e.g., principal and agent, attorney and client, officer and corporation, executor or trustee and beneficiary. If the existence of the underlying relationship itself is disputed, the instructions on this subject may need to be modified or supplemented.
In the second paragraph, describe the duty in the context of the particular relationship and the misconduct alleged. For example, if an agent is alleged to have had an undisclosed conflict of interest with his principal, the first two paragraphs might read:
At the time of the transaction, (defendant) was the agent of (plaintiff), the principal. A fiduciary relationship exists between a principal and agent.
The fiduciary relationship imposes a duty on the agent that the agent, within the limits of the agency, deal fairly and honestly with its principal and imposes the responsibility to disclose any conflicts between the agent's interests and the principal's interests that might make the agent act in its own best interests at the expense or to the detriment of the principal.
Use the additional bracketed paragraphs if warranted by the evidence. Use the parenthetical in the final bracketed paragraph if the existence of consent is an issue.
COMMENT
The determination of the existence of a fiduciary duty in a particular relationship is a matter of law, and it is error to submit that issue to the jury. Sexton Law Firm, P.A. v. Milligan, 329 Ark. 285, 948 S.W.2d 388 (1997); Long v. Lampton, 324 Ark. 511, 922 S.W.2d 692 (1996). Where there is a factual dispute as to the existence of the relationship giving rise to the duty at the time of the occurrence, as indicated in the Note on Use, the instructions on this subject may need to be modified or supplemented.
The sample instruction in the Note on Use is modeled after O'Malley, Grenig and Lee, Federal Jury Practice & Instructions § 123.31 (2000). See also Yahraus v. Continental Oil Co., 218 Ark. 872, 239 S.W.2d 594 (1951).
For discussions of fiduciary duty in other contexts, see Woches v. Woolverton, 2010 Ark. App. 802 (escrow agreement); Taylor v. Hinkle, 360 Ark. 121, 200 S.W.3d 387 (2004) (shareholders in closely held corporation); Cole v. Laws, 349 Ark. 177, 76 S.W.3d 878 (2002) (attorney and client); Pennington v. Harvest Foods, Inc., 326 Ark. 704, 934 S.W.2d 485 (1996) (manager of business); Hosey v. Burgess, 319 Ark. 183, 890 S.W.2d 262 (1995) (trustee and beneficiary); Texas Oil & Gas Corp. v. Hawkins Oil & Gas, Inc., 282 Ark. 268, 668 S.W.2d 16 (1984) (joint venturers); Raines v. Toney, 228 Ark. 1170, 313 S.W.2d 802 (1958) (officer/director of corporation, corporate opportunity); and Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Didion Mid–South Corp., 65 Ark. App. 201, 987 S.W.2d 745 (1999) (assigned risk insurer and insured).
The existence of a written contract does not preclude the existence of a fiduciary duty. Employers Ins. of Wausau, supra.
Self-dealing without consent is always a violation of fiduciary duty, even if innocent and unintentional. Hosey v. Burgess, supra.
End of Document