Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,600+ case briefs...

Bohatch v. Butler & Binion

Supreme Court of Texas
977 S.W.2d 543 (1998)


Facts

Colette Bohatch (plaintiff) was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Butler & Binion. The office had two other attorneys, McDonald and Powers, both partners. Almost all of the D.C. office’s work was done for Pennzoil. In 1990, based on her review of billing reports and time records, Bohatch began to suspect that McDonald was overbilling Pennzoil. She reported her concerns to Powers, and to other partners and members of Butler & Binion’s management committee. The management committee investigated the allegations. Pennzoil’s in-house counsel told committee members that Pennzoil believed McDonald’s bills to be reasonable. The management committee determined that there was no basis for Bohatch’s allegation that McDonald was overbilling. In January 1991 Butler & Binion denied Bohatch her year-end partnership distribution, and reduced her tentative distribution share for 1991 to zero. It continued to pay Bohatch her monthly draw until June 1991. On October 21, 1991 the firm voted to expel Bohatch from the partnership. Bohatch brought claims against Butler & Binion and its partners (the firm) (defendants) for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. The jury found that the firm breached the partnership agreement and its fiduciary duty, and awarded damages. The court of appeals found that the firm’s only duty to Bohatch was not to expel her in bad faith, that is, for self-gain. Finding no evidence that the firm had expelled her for self-gain, the court of appeals found that Bohatch could not recover on the breach of fiduciary duty claim. The court of appeals also found that the firm breached the partnership agreement by reducing Bohatch’s tentative distribution for 1991 to zero without notice, and for terminating her monthly draw three months before she left the firm.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Enoch, J.)

Concurrence (Hecht, J.)

Dissent (Spector, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 275,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,600 briefs, keyed to 196 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.