Texas Fiduciary Litigator

Texas Fiduciary Litigator

The Intersection of Texas Courts and the Fiduciary field

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Federal District Court Held That A Shareholder Of A Company Did Not Owe Fiduciary Duties To The Company Regarding A Transfer Of Stock Even Though He Was Also An Officer

In Liberty Bankers Life Ins. Co. v. Lenhard, a company sued its former chief executive officer and shareholder for breaching fiduciary duties and fraudulent statements regarding an agreement to transfer his stock in the company. No. 3:16-CV-2417-N, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19390 (N.D. Tex. February 6, 2019). The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Holds That A Limitation-Of-Liability Clause Eliminated A Punitive Damage Claim Where A Fraud Plaintiff Enforced The Contract But Refused To Address If The Holding Would Similarly Apply To A Breach-of-Fiduciary-Duty Claim

In Bombardier Aero. Corp. v. Spep Aircraft Holdings, a plaintiff who had purchased an aircraft sued the defendant for fraud associated with representations regarding whether the aircraft was new or used. No. 17-0578, 2019 Tex. LEXIS 101 (Tex. February 1, 2019). The purchase agreement stated: “Flexjet will not be liable to either customer for any… Continue Reading

Court Holds That A Bank’s Employees Cannot Conspire To Breach Fiduciary Duties And That The Bank Did Not Owe Fiduciary Duties To A Depositor

In Herring v. Am. Paper & Janitorial Prods., the plaintiff was a subcontractor who provided janitorial services for a bank and was also a depositor of the bank. No. H-17-3474, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215765 (S.D. Tex. December 24, 2018). After the plaintiff’s representatives were found stealing food after a party, the plaintiff’s contract was… Continue Reading

Court Held That A Power Of Attorney Agent Had Authority To Sue On Behalf Of The Principal And Affirmed A Finding That A Mineral Deed Was Procured By Fraud And Undue Influence

In Cortes v. Wendl, an elderly woman signed a deed conveying her mineral rights to two individuals. No. 06-17-00121-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 4457 (Tex. App.—Texarkana June 20, 2018, no pet.). When the woman’s nurse and friend learned of the transaction, she obtained a power of attorney and filed a lawsuit on the woman’s behalf,… Continue Reading

Court Discusses Diversity of Citizenship Jurisdiction Where A Trustee Removed The Case

In Thunder Patch II, LLC v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., plaintiffs filed suit against a trustee in state court seeking a declaration regarding the enforceability of a mineral lease, and the trustee removed the case to federal court based on diversity of citizenship. No. 5-18-CV-00629-OLG-RBF, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207696 (W.D. Tex. December 10, 2018).… Continue Reading

Court Addresses A Beneficiary’s Right To Bring Claims Belonging To A Trust

In American Bank, N.A. v. Moorehead Oil & Gas, Inc., plaintiffs (trustees and beneficiaries) filed suit to determine the value of ownership interests in corporate stock under section 10.361 of the Texas Business Organizations Code. No-13-17-00641-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 9703 (Tex. App—Corpus Christi November 29, 2018, no pet. history). The trial court granted summary… Continue Reading

Court Holds That A Judgment Was Not Effective Against Three Estates Where The Plaintiffs Did Not Sue The Estates’ Representatives And The Decedents’ Attorney Did Not Represent The Estates’ Representatives

In Delgado v. Garza, the plaintiffs sued for breach of a warranty of title, trespass to try title, and other related claims all stemming from a land transaction between an ancestor of the Salinases and an ancestor of the Garzas. No. 13-15-00344-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 9619 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi November 27, 2018, no pet.… Continue Reading

Court Affirmed The Probate Of A Will Where The Testator, A Quadriplegic, Blinked His Desires To Draft And Execute The Will

In Estate of Luce, the court of appeals affirmed a trial court’s admitting a will to probate where the decedent did not personally sign it and only communicating his desires by blinking. No. 02-17-00097-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 9341 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth November 15, 2018, no pet. history). The testator was in a serious accident… Continue Reading

A Court Rejects A Trust Protector’s Claims and Holds That A Trustee Properly Merged Trusts

In In re Macy Lynne Quintanilla Trust, a settlor created three trusts for his children in 2014. No. 04-17-00753-CV2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 8223 (Tex. App.—San Antonio October 10, 2018, no pet. history). The trust agreements named Perry as trustee and West as trust protector. The trust agreements gave the trust protector the power to remove… Continue Reading

Court Affirms Summary Judgment For A Trustee Against A Beneficiary Due To The Statute of Limitations And Discusses Constructive Knowledge Of Probate Records

In Gilmore v. Rotan, a testamentary trust’s beneficiaries sued the trustees in 2015 for making a transfer of trust property in 2003 that was evidenced by a deed filed in 2010. No. 11-16-00253-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 7705 (Tex. App.—Eastland September 20, 2018, no pet. history).  The beneficiaries claimed that the trustees engaged in self-dealing… Continue Reading

Court Reversed A Summary Judgment For Trustee And Found That A Contingent Remainder Beneficiary Had Standing And Potentially Had A Removal Claim

In In the Interest of K.K.W., an ex-wife sued an ex-husband and the trustee of a trust that they created for breaches of fiduciary duty and sought to remove the trustee, among other claims, arising out of the trustee’s alleged unfair distribution of trust assets. No. 05-16-00795-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6539 (Tex. App.—Dallas August… Continue Reading

Court Held That Equitable-Forfeiture Claims Arising From A General Partner’s Compensation Should Be Remanded For Consideration By Court

In Cruz v. Ghani, a limited partner sued a general partner over breach of fiduciary duty claims arising from, among other allegations, that the general partner should not have compensated himself from the business in addition to regular distributions. No. 05-17-00566-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6557 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 20, 2018, no pet. history). The… Continue Reading

Independent Executor Had Authority To Sell Estate Real Property Despite Nothing In The Will Giving Him That Authority

In Graff v. 2920 Park Grove Venture, Ltd., an executor was sued after selling estate real estate because the executor allegedly sold the property for less than fair market value. No. 05-16-01411-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 4266 (Tex. App—Dallas June 13, 2018, no pet. history). Among other claims and arguments, the plaintiff alleged that the… Continue Reading

Court Holds That Attorney Did Not Have An Attorney-Client Relationship With A Company’s Directors And Shareholders

In Pennington v. Fields, the majority of shareholders of a closely held business forced the buy-out of the minority shareholder and litigation ensued. No. 05-17-00321-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6601 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 21, 2018, no pet. history). Later, the minority shareholder sued the majority shareholder’s attorney and alleged that he committed legal malpractice by,… Continue Reading

The Texas Supreme Court Denies Review In A Case Awarding Mental Anguish Damages, Exemplary Damages, and Other Damages For A Trustee’s Breach Of Fiduciary Duty

Today, the Texas Supreme Court denied review in Wells Fargo v. Militello, No. 05-15-01252-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 5640 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 20, 2017, pet. denied). In Militello, the court of appeals affirmed a trial court’s judgment against a trustee regarding a beneficiary’s claims for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and fraud where the trial court awarded $1,328,448.35… Continue Reading

On Rehearing, Court Holds That Drafts Of Wills and Trust Documents Are Not Discoverable And Discusses The Attorney-Client Privilege

In In re Rittenmeyer, the mother of the decedent was the executor of his estate. No. 05-17-01378-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6647 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 22, 2018, original proceeding). The executor sued her son’s wife and his employer, alleging that the estate had the right to certain bonuses due to a pre-nuptial agreement. The decedent’s… Continue Reading

Independent Executor Had Authority To Sell Estate Real Property Despite Nothing In Will Giving Him That Authority

In Graff v. 2920 Park Grove Venture, Ltd., an executor was sued after selling estate real estate because the executor allegedly sold the property for less than fair market value. No. 05-16-01411-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 4266 (Tex. App—Dallas June 13, 2018, no pet. history). Among other claims and arguments, the plaintiff alleged that the… Continue Reading

Court Rules On Lost Profits, Lost Good Will, Disgorgement, and Forfeiture Remedies Against A Former Employee For Breach of Fiduciary Duty

In Samuel D. Orbison & Am. Piping Inspection v. Ma-Tex Rope Co., a jury found that a former employee breached fiduciary duties by working for a competitor while being employed by the plaintiff. No. 06-17-00112-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 4381 (Tex. App.—Texarkana June 15, 2018, no pet. history). The jury awarded lost profits, lost good… Continue Reading

Court Holds That Administrator Is Not Bound By Arbitration Clause In A Will

In Ali v. Smith, a successor administrator of an estate sued the former executor for breach of fiduciary duties arising from his management of the finances of the estate, converting assets of the estate, and using estate funds. No. 14-18-00003-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 5129 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] July 10, 2018, no pet. history).… Continue Reading

Court Denied Mandamus Relief To Review Order Denying Trustee’s Request To Pay His Attorney’s Fees In The Interim

In In re Cousins, a trustee filed a mandamus proceeding to challenge a trial court’s order denying his motion to pay his attorney’s fees from the trust. No. 12-18-00104-CV, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 3930 (Tex. App.—Tyler May 31, 2018, original proceeding). A co-trustee sued the other co-trustee for a number of causes of action related… Continue Reading

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