Confidential or Fiduciary Relationship In Texas

A fiduciary duty is one that, at a minimum, imposes upon the fiduciary a duty of good faith and fair dealing and often requires the fiduciary to place the interest of the other party before his own. See Crim Truck & Tractor v. Navistar Int'l Transp. Corp., 823 S.W.2d 591, 594 (Tex. 1992). Certain formal legal relationships, such as attorney-client, trustee-beneficiary, agent-principal, partners, and joint venturers, create a fiduciary duty as a matter of law. Casteel v. Crown Life Ins. Co., 3 S.W.3d 582, 590 (Tex. App.-Austin 1997), aff'd in part and rev'd in part, 22 S.W.3d 378, 2000, 43 Tex. Sup. J. 348, 2000 WL 72142 (2000). However, Texas courts have recognized that certain informal or "confidential relationships" may also give rise to a fiduciary duty. See Crim Truck & Tractor, 823 S.W.2d at 594. A confidential relationship may occur when one person trusts in and relies upon another, whether in a moral, social, domestic, or personal context, and "'in which influence has been acquired and abused, in which confidence has been reposed and betrayed.'" Id. The existence of a confidential or fiduciary relationship is generally a question of fact. See Farah v. Mafrige & Kormanik, P.C., 927 S.W.2d 663, 675 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1996, no writ). However, when the issue is whether there is no evidence or conclusive evidence to establish the relationship, it becomes a question of law. Id.