Legal Memorandum: Summary Judgment and Fiduciary Duty Breach

Issue: Under Colorado law, when should the court grant summary judgment on an issue of breach of a fiduciary duty?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Summary judgment; Breach of fiduciary duty
Jurisdiction: Colorado
Cited Cases: 298 P.2d 211; 946 P.2d 519; 996 P.2d 775; 955 P.2d 573; 531 P.2d 407; 872 P.2d 1356; 876 P.2d 1260; 821 P.2d 913; 67 P.2d 1034; 347 P.2d 652; 61 P.2d 1035; 241 P.2d 850; 193 P. 666; 569 P.2d 875; 955 P.2d 1023
Cited Statutes: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 15-14-604(4) (1997); Colo. Rev. Stat. § 15-14-603, -606 (1997 & Supp. 2000)
Date: 02/01/2001

  It is well-settled Colorado law that summary judgment is the drastic remedy that should not be granted unless the movant makes a clear showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Compass Ins. Co. v. City of Littleton, 984 P.2d 606, 613 (Colo. 1999) (quoting AviComm, Inc. v. Colorado Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 955 P.2d 1023, 1029 (Colo. 1998)).  On a motion for summary judgment, the trial court considers all facts and draws all inferences in favor of the nonmovant, and the court must resolve all doubts against the moving party.  Id., 984 P.2d at 613.

The trial court is authorized to grant summary judgment when the facts are undisputed and the evidence shows that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, Compass Ins., 984 P.2d at 613.

Under Colorado law, a fiduciary has a duty to act primarily for the benefit of another, to be loyal, to exercise reasonable care, and to deal impartially.  Tepley v. Public Employees Retirement Ass’n, 955 P.2d 573, 577 (Colo. Ct. App. 1997).  Generally, the issue whether there was a breach of fiduciary duty is an issue that cannot be resolved on summary judgment.  White v. Brock, 584 P.2d 1224, 1227, 1228 (Colo. Ct. App. 1978).  Thus, for example, in Scott Sys., Inc. v. Scott, 996 P.2d 775, 780 (Colo. Ct. App. 2000), […]

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