Texas Fiduciary Litigator

Texas Fiduciary Litigator

The Intersection of Texas Courts and the Fiduciary field

Category Archives: Texas Supreme Court

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The Texas Supreme Court Holds That The Only Consideration In Probating A Will After The Four-Year Limitations Period Is Evidence Of The Applicant’s Default

In Ferreira v. Butler, a husband and wife divorced, and the husband married a second wife. No. 17-0901, 2019 Tex. LEXIS 375 (Tex. April 12, 2019). The second wife died, and the husband never probated her will, which left everything to him. Nine years later, the husband died and his will left most of his… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Holds That Conspiracy Theories Have the Same Statute Of Limitations As Their Underlying Torts

Joint liability for breach of fiduciary duty claims is a rather confusing area of law in Texas. Texas courts have discussed three different theories that allow for joint liability: knowing participation in breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and conspiracy. There is a claim for knowing participation in Texas. See… 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

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

A. A Fractured Texas Supreme Court Holds That There Is No Tortious Interference With Inheritance Claim In Texas

In Archer v. Anderson, Jack, who had no children, executed a will leaving his estate to his brother and his brother’s children, the Archers. No. 16-0256, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 611 (Tex. June 22, 2018). Later, Jack had a stroke and was mentally incompetent. Jack’s friend Anderson, an attorney, drafted durable and medical powers of attorney… Continue Reading

The Texas Supreme Court Holds That Incorporating The AAA Rules Does Not Delegate Arbitrability Issues To The Arbitrator For Nonsignatories

Background: Arbitration Clauses May Apply To Trust Disputes The Texas Supreme Court held that arbitration clauses in trust documents may be enforced regarding claims by beneficiaries against trustees. In Rachal v. Reitz, a beneficiary sued a trustee for failing to provide an accounting and otherwise breaching fiduciary duties. 403 S.W.3d 840 (Tex. 2013). The trustee… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Compels Arbitration For Lender And Disagrees With Fifth Circuit

In Henry v. Cash Biz, LP, a borrower sued a lender for the lender reporting the borrower’s bad checks to the district attorney’s office. No. 16-0854, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 164 (Tex. February 23, 2018). The borrower left checks as security for the loans. When the borrower defaulted, the lender attempted to cash the checks, and… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Rules That Trustee Is Not Liable For Fraud In Leasing Minerals Due To “Red Flags” And Express Contradictory Language That Negated Justifiable Reliance

In JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Orca Assets G.P., a trustee leased minerals to a leasee. No. 15-0712, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 250 (Tex. March 23, 2018). That leasee did not immediately record the lease. The trustee’s agent then signed a letter of intent to lease tracts from the same area. When the new lease signed… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Holds That Testator Devised Property As A Life Estate

In Knopf v. Gray, the will disposed of the testator’s entire estate, specifically including a tract of land. No. 17-0262, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 249 (Tex. March 23, 2018). The provision through which the testator devised the land stated: “NOW BOBBY I leave the rest to you, everything, certificates of deposit, land, cattle and machinery, Understand… 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

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 Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Texas Recognizes A Tortious Interference With Inheritance Claim

In Anderson v. Archer, the trial court’s judgment awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million in damages based on a tortious interference with inheritance claim. No. 03-13-00790-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2165 (Tex. App.—Austin March 2, 2016, pet. granted). The defendants appealed and argued that Texas law does not recognize such a claim. The court of appeals… Continue Reading

In A Usurpation Of Corporate Opportunity Case, The Texas Supreme Court Reversed A Constructive Trust Due To A Failure To Trace The Property To The Alleged Fiduciary Breaches And Reversed A Disgorgement Award Because There Was No Finding Of The Fiduciaries’ Profits

In Longview Energy Co. v. The Huff Energy Fund, LP, Longview Energy Company sued two of its directors and their affiliates after discovering one affiliate purchased mineral leases in an area where Longview had been investigating the possibility of buying leases. No. 15-0968, 2017 Tex. LEXIS 525 (Tex. June 9, 2017). A jury found that… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Refuses To Rule On Whether Texas Recognizes Tortious Interference With Inheritance Rights And Affirms A Constructive Trust Based On A Finding Of Mental Incompetence

In Jackson Walker LLPO v. Kinsel, Lesey and E.A. Kinsel owned a ranch, and when E.A. died, he divided his half between his children and Lesey. Jackson Walker, LLPO v. Kinsel, No. 07-13-00130-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 3586 (Tex. App.—Amarillo April 10, 2015), aff’d in part, 2017 Tex. LEXIS 477 (Tex. May 26, 2017). Lesey… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Addresses The Causation Requirement For A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim And Conspiracy, Aiding And Abetting Breach Of Fiduciary Duty, And Joint Venture Theories

In First United Pentecostal Church of Beaumont v. Parker, a church hired an attorney to defend it against sexual abuse allegations. 2017 Tex. LEXIS 295 (Tex. March 17, 2017). During the same time, the church also engaged the attorney to assist in a hurricane/insurance claim. When the insurance company offered to pay over $1 million… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Accepts A Case Dealing With A No-Contest Clause

In Ard v. Hudson, a beneficiary sued testamentary trustees and executors for breach of fiduciary duty and also sought an accounting, temporary injunctive relief, and a receiver. No. 02-13-00198-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 8727 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth August 20, 2015, pet. granted).  The trial court granted a summary judgment for the defendants on the basis… Continue Reading

The Texas Supreme Court Will Review A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against Directors For Allegedly Usurping A Corporate Opportunity

The Texas Supreme Court granted the petition for review in Longview Energy Co. v. The Huff Energy Fund, 482 S.W.3d 184 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2015, pet granted). In this case, the plaintiff asserted a breach of fiduciary duty claim arising from allegations that directors breached duties by usurping a corporate opportunity to invest in shale… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Will Determine Whether Texas Recognizes A Tortious Interference With Inheritance Claim

Today, the Texas Supreme Court granted a petition for review in Jackson Walker, LLPO v. Kinsel, No. 07-13-00130-CV, 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 3586 (Tex. App.—Amarillo April 10, 2015, pet. granted). The Court’s staff attorney describes the issues as: “(1) whether Texas law recognizes tortious interference with inheritance rights; (2) whether sufficient evidence supports the jury’s… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Holds that Individual Beneficiary Had Standing to Bring a Legal Malpractice Claim Involving a Loan From an Account Managed by a Corporate Trustee

On May 27, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court held that an individual beneficiary of a self-directed retirement account managed by a corporate trustee had standing to bring legal malpractice claims against a law firm based on advice allegedly given regarding loans from the retirement account. Linegar v. DLA Piper US, LLP, No. 14-0767, 2016 Tex.… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Denies Petition For Review In Ward vs. Standford Opinion

On October 9, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court denied the petition for review in Ward v. Standford, 443 S.W.3d 334 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2014, pet. denied).  This case dealt with the accrual of the statute of limitations for breach of fiduciary duty claims against trustees where the plaintiff complained of an act of omission.  The court of… Continue Reading
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