Does the Court have any authority to award emotional distress damages for breach of fiduciary duty/duty of loyalty?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from Roldan v. Quintilone & Assocs., G054598 (Cal. App. 2018):

We note Quintilone does not argue there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court's order. Rather, his arguments focus on pointing out legal error with the arbitration award. Quintilone focuses on the legal error in awarding emotional distress damages when the legal malpractice action was filed primarily for economic damages. Quintilone contends Proposition 51's rule applying to personal injury defendants simply does not apply to legal malpractice lawsuits. These legal arguments are premised on the factual determination the dispute was solely about professional negligence and economic loss. It ignores the trial court's determination the arbitrator considered a dispute that included a request for personal injury damages. There was substantial evidence to support this conclusion. Plainly stated in the award is the arbitrator's characterization of the dispute. He wrote the Clients "contend the defendants intentionally caused them mental distress, emotional upset, and economic loss . . . ." Moreover, the arbitrator devoted two pages of the award discussing legal authority permitting the award of emotional distress damages for breach of fiduciary duty/duty of loyalty. (See, e.g., Stanley v. Richmond (1995) 35 Cal.App.4th 1070, 1097, and cases cited therein). It determined the Clients' case involved a tort distinct from their professional negligence cause of action. The above evidence supports the trial court's determination that the arbitrator fashioned a remedy based on all the disputes presented in this arbitration.

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