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Green v. H & R Block, Inc.
Maryland Court of Appeals
735 A.2d 1039 (1999)
H & R Block (defendant) prepared tax returns for customers in Maryland. As an ancillary service to its tax preparation, H & R Block offered a program to provide rapid refunds to its customers via a bank loan program. H & R Block facilitated loans between its customers and a third-party bank. The loans were secured by the taxpayer’s expected refund. Joyce A. Green (plaintiff) hired H & R Block to prepare her tax return and participated in H & R Block’s voluntary loan program. H & R Block promoted itself as experts that would maximize its customers’ tax refunds, but it did not disclose its financial interest with respect to the loan program to Green. H & R Block played a key role as an intermediary between its customers and lender banks. As the named plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit, Green alleged that H & R Block, acting as Green’s agent, breached its fiduciary duty to disclose a conflict of interest. The trial court found H & R Block had no fiduciary duty to disclose any conflict of interest because a principal-agent relationship did not exist and granted H & R Block’s motion to dismiss. Green appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Chasanow, J.)
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