St. Louis Law Partners Locked In Legal Dispute Over Alleged Breach Of Fiduciary Duty
According to a report from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, two partners at the Missouri-based law firm of Schlichter, Bogard and Denton are locked in a partnership dispute over an alleged breach of fiduciary duty. The St. Louis Post Dispatch states that the plaintiff, Roger Denton, has sued his partner, Jerry Schlichter, for allegedly taking at least $875,000 in improper legal fees. In this article, our Miami partnership dispute lawyer explains what is known about the lawsuit and discusses the fiduciary responsibilities of business partners more broadly.
Lawsuit: Dispute Over Winding Down of Partnership
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the complaint itself has now been sealed from public view due to certain highly confidential material within it. However, there are some basic details known about the nature of the partnership. Here are five key details as stated in the news report:
- The parties were long-term business partners at a law firm in St. Louis;
- The plaintiff (Mr. Denton) moved to wind down his interest in the law firm partnership in 2016;
- The partnership agreement was negotiated and modified in 2017 to resolve a matter related to the distribution of legal fees;
- The renegotiated agreement gave the plaintiff (Mr. Denton) a higher share of legal fees for pre-2016 cases and a lower share for legal fees for post-2016 cases; and
- The plaintiff alleges that the defendant breached his fiduciary duty to the partnership by improperly altering the date on certain legal work, thereby leading to improper distribution of fees.
To be clear, this is a pending legal matter. The details come from the reporting by the St. Louis Post Dispatch and are sourced largely from the complaint. No court has found wrongdoing by any party at this time.
Business Partners and Fiduciary Duties in Florida
A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care under the law. When a person owes a fiduciary duty, that means that they have a responsibility to put the best interests of the party who is owed that duty above their own best interests. In Florida. Business partners owe limited fiduciary duties to each other and the partnership. Specifically, Florida requires business partners to act with:
- A duty of loyalty; and
- A duty of care.
A business partner that breaches the duty of loyalty and/or duty of care could potentially be held legally liable. They may bear personal responsibility for damages sustained by the business partnership or by the other business partner(s).
Speak to a Partnership Litigation Attorney in Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami partnership litigation lawyers have the skills and experience needed to handle breach of fiduciary duty claims. If you have any questions about breach of fiduciary duty in partnership disputes, we are here to help. Contact us now for a confidential, no obligation consultation. We serve communities throughout South Florida, including Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Gables, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter.