Texas Fiduciary Litigator

Texas Fiduciary Litigator

The Intersection of Texas Courts and the Fiduciary field

David Fowler Johnson

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Court Denies Request For Mandamus Relief Regarding Court Order Requiring Spouse of Deceased Trustee To Prepare An Accounting

In In re Ng, after a jury found that a deceased trustee did not breach fiduciary duties, a trial court nonetheless ordered the deceased trustee’s spouse to prepare an accounting of the trust. No. 09-17-00386-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 10129 (Tex. App.—Beaumont October 27, 2017, original proceeding). The spouse filed a notice of appeal and… Continue Reading

Magistrate Recommends Refusing A Request For A Preliminary Injunction Based On A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Arising From An LLC’s Former Member Competing For Opportunities

In BCOWW Holdings, LLC v. Collins, plaintiffs sued a former member and his new company asserting breach of fiduciary duty and numerous other claims based in part on the defendants allegedly usurping a corporate opportunity. No. SA-17-CA-00379-FB, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142618 (W.D. Tex. September 5, 2017). The plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction, and the… Continue Reading

Court Held That Statutory Probate Court Had Subject Matter Jurisdiction Over Trust Dispute

In Barcroft v. Walton, a statutory probate court entered sanctions, struck a defendant’s pleadings, and entered a default judgment against a defendant in a trust case. No. 02-16-00110-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 8541 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth September 7, 2017, no pet. history). The defendant appealed on multiple grounds, and the court of appeals first addressed… Continue Reading

Court Refuses To Enforce Arbitration Clause By Financial Advisor

In Steer Wealth Mgmt., LLC v. Denson, Denson, in her individual capacity and as executor of her husband’s estate, sued Steer Wealth Management, LLC, for causes of action including breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and fraud arising out of the alleged improper transfer of assets from several of the Densons’ brokerage accounts. No.… Continue Reading

Federal Courts Hold That Lenders Do Not Generally Owe Fiduciary Duties To Borrowers

In Hagood v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., a borrower sued a lender for several claims, including breach of fiduciary duties. No. A-17-CA-00784-SS, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165943 (W. D. Tex. October 6, 2017). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and the district court granted same: Without providing details,… Continue Reading

Court Addresses Breach Of Fiduciary Duty and Partition Issues In Trust Dispute

In Koda v. Rossi, a mother created a trust that provided that her son was to serve as trustee and that she, he, and a daughter were the beneficiaries. No. 11-15-0150-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 8194 (Tex. App.—Eastland August 26, 2017, no pet. history). Upon the mother’s death, the trust was to terminate and the… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Will Hear Oral Argument On Whether Texas Recognizes A Claim For Tortious Interference With Inheritance Rights

On October 11, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Anderson v. Archer, No. 03-13-00790-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2165 (Tex. App.—Austin March 2, 2016, pet. filed). In Anderson, the trial court’s judgment awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million in damages based on a tortious interference with inheritance claim. Id. The defendants appealed and argued that… Continue Reading

Court Holds That Attorneys Acted As An Escrow Agent And Could Be Sued For Breach Of Fiduciary Duty By A Non-Client

In Alexander O&G, LLC v. Nomad Land & Energy Res., LLC, Nomad entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement (“PSA”) with Alexander O&G, LLC (“AOG”) for the sale of oil and gas interests. No. H-16-2065, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130415 (S.D. Tex. August 16, 2017). The PSA provided that AOG would deposit earnest money into… Continue Reading

Court Affirms Judgment For Estate Representative Due To A Statute-Of-Limitations Tolling Statute

In Kaptchinskie v. Estate of Kirchner, the purchasers of property sued an estate to establish that the estate’s claim under a note was extinguished by the statute of limitations. No. 14-15-01080-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 7012 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] July 27, 2017, no pet. history). The independent administratrix of the estate filed a counterclaim… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Enforces Forum-Selection Clause In Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Case Arising From A Shareholder Agreement

In Pinto Tech. Ventures, L.P. v. Sheldon, the Texas Supreme Court held that business tort claims, including breach of fiduciary duty, were subject to a forum-selection clause in a shareholders agreement. No. 16-0007, 2017 WL 2200357, at *9 (Tex. May 19, 2017). The plaintiffs, two shareholders, asserted business tort claims related to the alleged dilution… Continue Reading

Texas Adopts New Legislation Protecting Vulnerable Persons From Financial Exploitation And Places New Burdens On Financial Institutions, Securities Dealers, and Financial Advisers

I.     Introduction The Texas Legislature passed, and the Governor has signed, a new act that creates new protections for vulnerable individuals. HB 3921 creates a new chapter 280 of the Texas Finance Code and a new Article 581, Section 45, of the Texas Securities Act in the Texas Civil Statutes. The Texas Legislature now requires… Continue Reading

Court Affirms Summary Judgment In Will Contest Where There Was No Evidence Of Undue Influence

In Estate of Frye, parties filed an application to set aside an order probating a will due to an allegation of undue influence. No. 07-16-00398-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6992 (Tex. App.—Amarillo July 26, 2017, no pet. history). The decedent left bequests to her daughters, Judy and Patsy, in her will, but left nothing to… Continue Reading

New Texas Statutes That Impact Fiduciaries Become Effective Today (9/1/2017)

The Texas Legislature passed, and the Governor has signed, a new act that creates new protections for vulnerable individuals. This impacts financial institutions, broker/dealers, and investment advisors. The Texas Legislature now requires employees to report suspected incidences of financial exploitation of vulnerable persons (those over 65 or those with disabilities) to their employers, and for… Continue Reading

Court Affirms Arbitration Decision Arising From Trust Dispute

In Saks v. Rogers, a beneficiary of a trust challenged a trial court’s enforcement of an arbitration decision. No. 04-16-00286-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6923 (Tex. App.—San Antonio July 26, 2017, no pet. history). The parties entered into a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) that included an arbitration agreement for “disputes aris[ing] with regard to the… Continue Reading

Court Held That Estate Representative Was Entitled To Discover Documents To Establish A Claim

In In re Cokinos, Boisien & Young, a representative of an estate of a deceased attorney sought documents from a law firm related to an alleged agreement to share fees. No. 05-16-01331-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6911 (Tex. App.—Dallas July 25, 2017, original proceeding). The trial court ordered that the estate representative have access to… Continue Reading

Court Affirms Submission of Mitigation Instruction In A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Case To Affirm A Jury’s Finding Of No Damages

In E.L. & Associates v. Pabon, a company sued two former directors and their son for breaching fiduciary duties when the company lost a lease for a restaurant it operated and the directors’ son opened a nearly identical restaurant in the same location.  No. 14-15-00631-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 4547 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] May… Continue Reading

Court Holds That Board Of Trustees Of A Nonprofit Do Not Owe The Same Duties As A Trustee Of A Trust

In Young v. Heins, Young brought third-party claims against the board of trustees of a nonprofit home owner association for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and for a declaratory judgment. No. 01-15-00500-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 5075 (Tex.… Continue Reading

Court Holds That Majority Shareholders In Closely Held Corporation Do Not Owe Fiduciary Duties To Minority Shareholders

In Herring Bancorp, Inc. v. Mikkelsen, a corporation acquired a majority of the outstanding shares of preferred stock by “repurchasing” those shares in accordance with the articles of incorporation, including the shares owned by a trustee. No. 07-15-00327-CV2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 5131 (Tex. App.—Amarillo June 2, 2017, no pet. history). This was against the wishes… Continue Reading

Court Reversed A Finding Of Breach Of Fiduciary Duty (And $470,000,000 Judgment) Because No Partnership Ever Existed Due To The Failure Of Conditions Precedent

In Enterprise Prods. Partners, L.P. v. Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., the jury found Enterprise Products Partners, L.P. (“Enterprise”) was in a general partnership with Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (“ETP”) regarding a pipeline project and that Enterprise breached its duty of loyalty as a partner to ETP. No. 05-14-01383-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 6658 (Tex. App.—Dallas… Continue Reading

Court Finds That Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claims Is Preempted By Trade Secrets Claim

In Super Starr Int’l, LLC v. Fresh Tex Produce, LLC, a Texas entity that distributes produce throughout the United States filed suit against another Texas entity that imports foreign grown produce into the United States and other related entities for a variety of claims arising from the defendants’ attempts to distribute produce without the plaintiff.… Continue Reading

Court Reverses Summary Judgment For Directors Because They Could Not Consent To Their Own Breaches of Fiduciary Duty

In Corley v. Hendricks, three individuals (Gaylen, Dan, and Corley) operated a business as shareholders, officers, and directors. No. 02-16-00293-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 3846 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth April 27, 2017, no pet. history). Galen then terminated Corley and removed him as an officer and director. Corley then sued the other two for breach of… Continue Reading

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

Courts Hold That Fiduciaries Waived Complaints About Trial Court Orders

In In re Estate of Roach, a trial court removed an executor for multiple grounds, including: (1) Texas Estates Code Section 404.0035(b)(5), which authorizes removal when an independent executor becomes incapable of properly performing his fiduciary duties due to a material conflict of interest, and (2) Section 404.0035(b)(3), which authorizes removal when an independent executor… Continue Reading
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