Professional Negligence Final Arbitration Award

November 16, 2021 | Jonathan Vine

Jonathan Vine and Sheena Smith of CSK’s West Palm Beach office recently received a Final Arbitration Award in favor of CSK’s clients, a lawyer and her firm, in a hotly contested breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence and constructive fraud action.

The Plaintiffs were the daughters of a wealthy real estate developer (the Father) as well as the directors and/or officers of several of their Father’s companies. Through a series of amendments to the Father’s trust documents and entities under the facade of protecting their Father from tax penalties and assisting him to become a U.S. resident, the Plaintiffs took control of the Father’s trusts and assets worth approximately $30 million. When the Father discovered the Plaintiffs’ actions, the Father filed a lawsuit against the Plaintiffs to undue the transfers.

In response, the Plaintiffs sued the Father’s long-time corporate and real estate attorney and her law firm (the Defendants), asserting that they (the Plaintiffs) had an individual attorney-client relationship with Defendants. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants used confidential and privileged information provided by the Plaintiffs to aid the Father with his lawsuit against the Plaintiffs to undo the trust amendments to the detriment of the Plaintiffs. Despite Plaintiffs’ insistence that they had developed an attorney-client relationship with Defendants in their individual capacity as well as a result of their position(s) as officers and/or directors of their Father’s companies, Defendants maintained that their only clients were the Father and his companies.

The matter went to arbitration after a length discovery process. The Arbitrator found in favor of Defendants and entered a Final Arbitration Award against Plaintiffs on their claims of breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, and constructive fraud.

Jonathan Vine
(561) 383-9203

Sheena Smith
(561) 681-5534

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