Real Estate Agent Breach of Fiduciary Duty in California

Breach of a real estate agent's fiduciary duty to his or her client may constitute negligence or fraud, depending on the circumstances of the case. (Salahutdin v. Valley of California, Inc. (1994) 24 Cal. App. 4th 555, 563 29 Cal. Rptr. 2d 463.) Additionally, a real estate agent, as a fiduciary, is also " '. . . liable to his principal for constructive fraud even though his conduct is not actually fraudulent. Constructive fraud is a unique species of fraud applicable only to a fiduciary or confidential relationship.' 'As a general principle constructive fraud comprises any act, omission or concealment involving a breach of legal or equitable duty, trust or confidence which results in damage to another even though the conduct is not otherwise fraudulent. Most acts by an agent in breach of his fiduciary duties constitute constructive fraud. The failure of the fiduciary to disclose a material fact to his principal which might affect the fiduciary's motives or the principal's decision, which is known (or should be known) to the fiduciary, may constitute constructive fraud. Also, a careless misstatement may constitute constructive fraud even though there is no fraudulent intent.' " (Id. at p. 562.) It is clear, therefore, that whether a fiduciary duty has been breached, and whether a statement constitutes constructive or actual fraud, depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.