relationship. The nature of the association between two or more people; esp., a legally
recognized association that makes a difference in the participants’ legal rights and duties of care.
attorney–client relationship.The formal legal representation of a person by a lawyer. • An
attorney–client relationship may be found, for disciplinary purposes, without any formal
confidential relationship. 1. See fiduciary relationship. 2.Trade secrets. A relationship in
which one person has a duty to the other not to disclose proprietary information. • A confidential
relationship can be expressly established, as by the terms of an employment contract. It can also
be implied when one person knows or should know that the information is confidential, and the
other person reasonably believes that the first person has consented to keep the information
confidential. A confidential relationship might be implied, for instance, between two people
negotiating the sale of a business.
doctor–patient relationship.The association between a medical provider and one who is being
diagnosed or treated. • The relationship imposes a duty on the doctor to ensure that the patient
gives informed consent for treatment.
employer–employee relationship.The association between a person employed to perform
services in the affairs of another, who in turn has the right to control the person’s physical conduct
in the course of that service. • At common law, the relationship was termed “master-servant.” That
term is still used often, but “employer–employee” dominates in modern legal usage.
fiducial relationship.See trust relationship.
fiduciary relationship.A relationship in which one person is under a duty to act for the benefit
of another on matters within the scope of the relationship. • Fiduciary relationships — such as
trustee–beneficiary, guardian–ward, principal–agent, and attorney–client — require an unusually
high degree of care. Fiduciary relationships usu. arise in one of four situations: (1) when one
person places trust in the faithful integrity of another, who as a result gains superiority or influence
over the first, (2) when one person assumes control and responsibility over another, (3) when one
person has a duty to act for or give advice to another on matters falling within the scope of the
relationship, or (4) when there is a specific relationship that has traditionally been recognized as
involving fiduciary duties, as with a lawyer and a client or a stockbroker and a customer. — Also
termed fiduciary relation; confidential relationship. Cf. special relationship
master–servant relationship.The association between one in authority and a subordinate, esp.
between an employer and an employee. • At common law, this term also designated the
husband–wife relationship for purposes of analyzing loss of consortium, but that usage is now
obsolete. — Also termed employer–employee relationship. See MASTER AND SERVANT.
parent–child relationship.The association between an adult and a minor in the adult’s care,
esp. an offspring or an adoptee. • The relationship imposes a high duty of care on the adult,
including the duties to support, to rescue, to supervise and control, and to educate.
professional relationship.An association that involves one person’s reliance on the other
person’s specialized training. • Examples include one’s relationship with a lawyer, doctor, insurer,
banker, and the like.
special relationship.A nonfiduciary relationship having an element of trust, arising esp. when
one person trusts another to exercise a reasonable degree of care and the other knows or ought to
know about the reliance. Cf. fiduciary relationship. [Cases: Master and Servant 30(1.15); Torts
- C.J.S. Employer–Employee Relationship § 60; Torts §§ 54, 59–65.]
trust relationship.An association based on one person’s reliance on the other person’s
specialized training. — Also termed fiducial relationship. [Blacks Law 8th]