Parties often add limitation-of-liability clauses to their agreements. These types of clauses can purport to limit a party’s claims or damages or both.  Damage-limitation clauses can take many different forms. For example, such a clause may forbid the recovery of consequential or loss profits damages. Cont’l Holdings, Ltd. v. Leahy, 132 S.W.3d 471, 475-76

The Texas Legislatures recently passed a bill that takes effect on September 1, 2021 that extends the rule against perpetuities to 300 years for trusts. The Legislature forwarded the bill (HB 654) to the governor on May 20, 2021, but he has not yet signed the bill into law. But unless he vetoes the bill, it will become law after ten days.

The Texas Constitution prohibits perpetuities: “Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed . . . .” Tex. Const. art. I, § 26. A perpetuity is a restriction on the power of alienation that lasts longer than a prescribed period. ConocoPhillips Co. v. Koopmann, 547 S.W.3d 858, 866-67 (Tex. 2018). The rule against perpetuities “should be a check on vain, capricious action by wealthy empire builders. But it should not be a constantly present threat to reasonable dispositions which slightly overstep a technical line.” Rekdahl v. Long, Tex., 417 S.W.2d 387 (1967) (Steakley, J., dissenting) (citing W. B. Leach & O. Tudor, The Rule Against Perpetuities § 24.11 at 43 (1957)).
Continue Reading Texas Legislature Extends The Rule Against Perpetuities To 300 Years For Trusts

A recent bill has been submitted that would provide a trustee release relief for transactions described in an accounting where a beneficiary fails to timely object to the accounting and there is no fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or material omission. The bill provides:

Sec. 113.153. BENEFICIARY’S APPROVAL OF ACCOUNTING.

(a) This section does not apply to a trust that is under judicial supervision.
(b) If a beneficiary does not object to a trustee’s accounting before the 180th day after the date a copy of the accounting has been delivered to the last known address of the beneficiary: (1) the beneficiary is considered to have approved the accounting; and (2) absent fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or material omission, the trustee is released from liability relating to all matters in the accounting.


Continue Reading New Texas Bill Would Provide Release Relief To Trustees Who Deliver Adequate Accountings Without A Timely Objection By The Beneficiary

David F. Johnson recently published a new law review article: “Tricks, Traps, and Snares in Appealing a Summary Judgment in Texas, 72 BAYLOR L. REV. 564 (Fall 2020).” David originally published this article in 1998 with Chief Justice William J. Cornelius of the Sixth Court of Appeals of Texas. David’s original article has been cited

David F. Johnson recently published his article “Fiduciary Compensation and Forfeiture in Texas” in the Texas Tech Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal. This article addresses many of the interesting issues that arise in trustee compensation disputes. The article addresses a trustee’s authority to compensation under the trust document, statutes, and common law, and

In In re Silver State Holdings, in a bankruptcy proceeding a trustee of a limited liability company sued its former manager for breach of fiduciary duty and another entity for conspiracy to breach fiduciary duty arising out of a sale of property owned by the company. No. 19-41579-MXM 26 LLC, ADVERSARY NO. 19-4043-MXM 7901, 2020 Bankr. LEXIS 3531 (N.D. Tex. Bankr. December 17, 2020).
Continue Reading Bankruptcy Court Discussed The Fiduciary Duties Owed To A Limited Liability Company And Its Creditors By Its Manager

Upcoming Webinar

Join us for a complimentary webinar that will discuss the different types of exculpatory clauses in trust documents, why they exist, the historical treatment of exculpatory clauses in Texas, Texas’s current statutory provisions that impact their enforcement, and current precedent impacting the enforcement of such clauses.

Date: Tuesday, February

In Ec & Sm Guerra v. Phila. Indem. Ins. Co., an insured sued its property insurer for breach of fiduciary duty and other claims arising from the insurer’s denying a claim for wind damage and disagreeing with an appraiser’s report. SA-20-CV-00660-XR, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196735 (W.D. Tex. October 21, 2020). The insurer filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted.
Continue Reading Court Holds That Insurers Do Not Generally Owe Fiduciary Duties To Insureds

In this presentation, David F. Johnson will cover Texas cases dealing with fiduciary issues over the survey period. Some of the issues involve the removal of a trustee, the resignation of a trustee, the production of confidential trust information, the attorney/client communication privilege, right to jury trial in trust modification proceedings, the standing of contingent

David F. Johnson presented his paper on “Trustees’ Ability to Retain and Compensate Attorneys in Texas” to the Texas Bar Association’s Fiduciary Litigation Course on December 10, 2020. This presentation discussed a trustee’s authority to retain counsel, suggestions regarding engagement letters, attorney/client communication issues, inadvertent attorney/client relationships, co-trustee administration of trusts and its impact on