In Gray vs. Ward, Ward and Gray started a limited partnership where Ward was a limited partner and Gray was a limited partner and the manager of the general partner. No. 05-18-00266-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 6992 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 9, 2019, no pet.). Ward was also an employee of the partnership, but there was no written employment agreement. Ward wanted to exit the relationship, and the parties had a dispute concerning the amount to buy him out. Ward alleged that Gray fired him, but told employees that Ward resigned. Ward sued Gray and the general partner for breach of contract and fiduciary duties arising out of the buy-out of his interests, wrongful termination related to his firing, and defamation. Gray filed a motion to compel arbitration due to the following arbitration clause in the partnership agreement:

Continue Reading Texas Court Compels A Limited Partner’s Employment And Defamation Claims To Arbitration Due To The Partnership Agreement’s Arbitration Clause

David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, presented “Detecting Elder Abuse and The Duty to Report Financial Exploitation” to the Southwest Association of Bank Counsel on Thursday, September 26, 2019, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This presentation focused on factors to detect the two main tools of elder abuse, undue influence and mental incompetence, and also discussed a financial institution’s duty to report elder abuse to the proper authorities.  David also discussed financial institutions’ potential liability risk for failing to detect and report elder abuse. The paper, PowerPoint, and a recent CFPB alert on elder abuse are attached.

Continue Reading Presentation: Detecting Elder Abuse and The Duty to Report Financial Exploitation

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David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog recently presented his paper on “Summary Judgments in Texas” at the State Bar of Texas’s Advanced Civil Appellate Course in Austin, Texas.  This presentation included a discussion of the finality of summary judgments, the standard and scope of review of traditional and no-evidence summary judgments in the trial court and court of appeals, preservation of error hot topics, recent Texas Supreme Court decisions impacting summary judgments, challenging the denial of a motion for summary judgment, and record/briefing issues. The paper is attached below.

Read Here:  Summary Judgments in Texas

In In the Estate of Brazda, the trial court found an administrator guilty of neglecting to timely distribute the property and ordered the administrator to pay one of the heir’s damages for the neglect. No. 01-18-00324-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5924 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] July 11, 2019, no pet. history). The administrator moved for reconsideration of the damages order, the trial court later entered written orders reconsidering and removing the personal liability against the administrator. The complaining heir appealed. The court of appeals held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter the orders reconsidering and removing the damages against the administrator because the original order awarding the damages was final and appealable in its own right and because the trial court lost plenary power over that order before the time that it entered the written reconsideration orders.

Continue Reading Trial Court Lacked Jurisdiction To Alter Its Previous Probate Order, and An Administrator Waived Any Challenge To A Damages Finding

In Waldron v. Susan R. Winking Trust, a daughter was a beneficiary of a trust set up by her parents. No. 12-18-00026-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5867 (Tex. App.—Tyler July 10, 2019, no pet. history). The original trustee resigned, and the trust document provided:

Continue Reading Court Holds That A Trustee Has To Serve Until Properly Replaced

In Sanders v. Hathaway, the decedent’s estate’s representative sued her sister for various claims arising from the decedent’s beneficiary designation changes, deed transfers, and accounts payable on death changes that benefited the sister. No. 01-18-00661-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5708 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] July 9, 2019, no pet. history). The sister alleged that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The trial court granted summary judgment for the sister, and the representative appealed. The court of appeals first held that limitations had run on the claims:

Continue Reading Statute of Limitations Barred Estate Representative’s Claim To Void Beneficiary Designations

In Shopoff Advisors, LP v. Atrium Circle, GP, the buyer and seller to a real estate transaction sued each other. No. 04-18-00438-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5764 (Tex. App.—San Antonio July 10, 2019, no pet. history). The plaintiff alleged that the defendant conspired with the escrow agent, who owed the plaintiff a fiduciary duty. The defendant filed a SLAPP motion, which the trial court denied. The Texas Citizens Participation Act (“TCPA”) is also known as Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute. Id. (citing Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §§ 27.001-.011). The defendant appealed. The court of appeals affirmed in part on other claims, but reversed as to the conspiracy claim. Regarding conspiracy, the court held:

Continue Reading Court Holds That Economic Loss Rule Bars Conspiracy To Breach Fiduciary Duty Claims

In In re Estate of Moore, a decedent executed a will that provided that the residuary of his estate would be held in trust for his mother, and such trust would terminate on her death with the assets then passing to certain charitable remainder beneficiaries. No. 05-18-00019-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 3871 (Tex. App.—Dallas May 14, 2019, no pet. history). The decedent’s mother predeceased him. The decedent’s sole heir then alleged that the trust failed because the sole beneficiary predeceased the decedent and that she should receive the assets. The remainder beneficiaries of the trust alleged that the trust did not fail and that they should receive the assets. The trial court ruled for the charities, and the heir appealed.

Continue Reading Court Holds That A Testamentary Trust Did Not Fail Because The Primary Beneficiary Predeceased The Decedent

In In re Amerisciences, a bankruptcy trustee sued a bankrupt company’s former officers for breach of fiduciary duty regarding the theft of trade secrets. No. 18-20394, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 20635 (5th Cir. July 11, 2019). The jury found for the trustee, and the officers appealed. The court of appeals addressed whether there was sufficient evidence of damages to support the breach of fiduciary duty claim:

Continue Reading Court Holds That The Cost To Create A Distributor List Was Sufficient Evidence of Damages for A Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim