Texas Fiduciary Litigator

The Intersection of Texas Courts and the Fiduciary Field

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Plaintiffs in civil litigation often seek punitive or exemplary damages. “Exemplary damages” means any damages awarded as a penalty or by way of punishment but not for compensatory purposes. Exemplary damages are neither economic nor noneconomic damages. “Exemplary damages” includes punitive damages. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 41.001(5). A jury may only award exemplary damages if the claimant proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that the harm resulted from: (1) fraud; (2)…
In Lavizadeh v. Moghadam, a trustee purchased real estate and then had a dispute with a guarantor. No. 05-18-00955-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 10835 (Tex. App.—Dallas December 13, 2019, no pet. history). The trial court ruled against the trustee, and the trustee objected to the failure to have a jury trial. The trial court overruled that objection, and the trustee appealed. The court of appeals first held that the trustee waived any issue on the…
In Leland House v. Webb, a husband sued his deceased wife’s executor to quiet title in real estate that she obtained from her aunt. No. 06-19-00054-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 10012 (Tex. App.—Texarkana November 19, 2019, no pet. history). The executor argued that the transfer was not a sale of property, but was a gift. The trial court ruled for the executor, and the husband appealed. The court of appeals first reviewed the law regarding…
In In the Estate of Johnson, a decedent’s daughter filed a will contest after accepting over $146,000 from the estate. No. 05-18-01193-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 9646 (Tex. App.—Dallas November 4, 2019, no pet.). The executrix filed a motion in limine challenging the daughter’s standing and asked the trial court to dismiss the will contest, which the trial court did. The daughter appealed. The court of appeals first addressed whether the daughter had standing to…
  David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, discusses Texas fiduciary litigation case law and addresses issues such as merger of trusts, Gunn Trusts, statute of limitations, quasi-estoppel, arbitration, conspiracy, employee liability, and other issues. CLICK HERE FOR WEBINAR Texas Fiduciary Litigation Update: 2018-2019 – PowerPoint Texas Fiduciary Litigation Update: 2018-2019 – Paper If you are interested in joining our next complimentary webinar or presentation, please send your request…
David F. Johnson, lead writer for the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, was selected for JD Supra’s “Most Popular Estate Planning Reads in 2019.” The blog post, “Court Holds That a Will Left a Partial Intestacy,” is listed as the #9 most well-read estate planning article published by JD Supra in 2019.  Click here to view the complete list.   David serves as the managing shareholder of Winstead’s Fort Worth office.   He maintains an active…
In In re Troy S. Poe Trust, trustees of a trust that was embroiled in litigation filed suit to modify the trust to increase the number of trustees and change the method for trustees to vote on issues. No. 08-18-00074-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 7838 (Tex. App.—El Paso August 28, 2019, no pet.). After the trial court granted the modification, a party to the proceeding appealed and argued that the trial court erred in refusing…
In In re Estate of Poe, the son of a car dealership owner who was frozen out of control of the business by the dying father’s decision to issue new stock sued his father’s estate, trust, and officers of the business. No. 08-18-00015-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 7842 (Tex. App.—El Paso August 28, 2019, no pet. history). The court of appeals held that the son had the burden to overcome the business judgment rule as…
David F. Johnson presented his paper “The Use of Arbitration, Forum-Selection, and Jury-Waiver Clauses in Trust and Estate Litigation in Texas” to the Texas Bar Association’s Fiduciary Litigation Course in San Antonio on December 5, 2019. This presentation discussed the general purposes for those clauses, the standards for enforcement, procedural aspects of enforcement, the impact of choice-of-law clauses, and most importantly, current authority from across the county on using those clauses in trust and estate…
In Klinek v. Luxeyard, Inc., a company sued its majority shareholder in a suit for breach of fiduciary duty arising from a pump-and-dump scheme and later settled that claim. No. 14-17-00899-C, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 9421 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] October 29, 2019, no pet. history). The company then sued a third party for common-law fraud, unjust enrichment, and for conspiring in a breach of fiduciary duty, but asserted no claims for breach of fiduciary…