The fiduciary duty owed by corporate officers and directors includes an obligation not to usurp a corporate business opportunity for personal gain but to allow that opportunity to be enjoyed by the corporation, to which it is said to belong. (See Feddeman & Co. v. Langan Assocs., P.C., 260 Va. 35, 46 n.1 (2000)). As fiduciaries, officers and directors have a duty of loyalty that requires them to act in the best interests of the corporation at all times. A breach of fiduciary duty may arise if a corporate officer becomes personally interested in an opportunity of legitimate interest to his employer. Conflicts of interest must be avoided and all corporate opportunities must be presented to the corporation before the officer takes it for himself or offers it to others. If a corporate officer violates this so-called “corporate opportunity doctrine,” the corporation may sue for damages.
Technically, a violation of the corporate opportunity doctrine is a breach of fiduciary duty, but according to a recent opinion from the Western District of Virginia, it doesn’t really matter what you call it; it’s a tort, for which monetary damages can be recovered.