Texas Fiduciary Litigator

Texas Fiduciary Litigator

The Intersection of Texas Courts and the Fiduciary field

Tag Archives: punitive damages

Court Reviews Damages For Mental Anguish, Exemplary Damages, and Other Categories For A Trustee’s Breach Of Fiduciary Duty

In Wells Fargo v. Militello, a trustee appealed a judgment from a bench trial regarding a beneficiary’s claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and fraud. No. 05-15-01252-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 5640 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 20, 2017, no pet. history). Militello was an orphan when her grandmother and great-grandmother created trusts for her. She… Continue Reading

Court Caps Exemplary Damages Award Where Plaintiff Did Not Plead or Prove A Misapplication Of Fiduciary Property Capbusting Offense

In Davis v. White, a lawyer sued his former partner over the application of a receivable. No. 02-13-00191-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 3075 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth March 24, 2016, no pet. history). A jury awarded the plaintiff over $300,000 in actual damages and $2.8 million in exemplary damages. The trial court awarded the plaintiff his… Continue Reading

Court Holds that Disgorgement Award for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Was Neither Punitive Nor Excessive and that Exemplary Damages Were Reasonably Proportioned to Damages

A court of appeals recently issued an opinion rejecting a fiduciary’s claims regarding the excessiveness of the trial court’s judgment that awarded disgorgement and exemplary damages.  In Swinnea v. ERI Consulting Engineers, Inc., Snodgrass and Swinnea owned equal interests in ERI, a small consulting company that managed asbestos abatement projects, for approximately ten years.  No.… Continue Reading

Fiduciaries And Beneficiaries Should Be Aware Of Criminal Statutes

There are several criminal statutes that implicate fiduciary activities in Texas that are not well-known: misappropriation of fiduciary property and financial exploitation of the elderly. Though these may be similar in some ways to a theft charge, they are different criminal charges. Rhinehardt v. State, No. 08-01-00335-CR, 2003 Tex. App. LEXIS 6223 (Tex. App.—El Paso… Continue Reading

If a Beneficiary Sues a Trustee for Improperly Taking Assets From the Trust, the Trust is Entitled to the Recovery and Not the Beneficiary

In Fetter v. Brown, a beneficiary sued a trustee for breach of duty, and trial court awarded the beneficiary over $1.3 million in actual damages and $.7 million in punitive damages. No. 10-13-00392-CV, 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 11209 (Tex. App.—Waco October 9, 2014, pet. denied).   The court of appeals held that the damages should have… Continue Reading
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