In In re Poe Trust, there were three co-trustees of a trust, and the trust required them to act jointly. No. 20-0179, 2022 Tex. LEXIS 548 (Tex. June 17, 2022). One of those trustees (Dick) effectively acted as a sole trustee during his life. After Dick died, his executors and one of the other trustees (Richard) became embroiled in litigation.
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Holds That Parties May Not Be Entitled To Jury Trials For Trust Modification Proceedings And Remands For Constitutional Review

In In re Estate of Poe, shortly before his death, Dick, who was the sole director of Poe Management, Inc. (PMI), authorized the corporation to issue new shares that he bought for $3.2 million. No. 20-0178, 2022 Tex. LEXIS 544 (Tex. June 17, 2022). This made Dick the majority owner of PMI, which was the general partner of several Poe-owned businesses. As a result of the purchase, Dick’s death vested control of the family enterprise in the two co-executors of Dick’s estate rather than Dick’s son, Richard, who was PMI’s only other shareholder.
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Holds That A Director Of A Corporation Cannot Hold An Informal Fiduciary Duty To A Stockowner

In Berry v. Berry, one brother sued his other three brothers regarding the leasing of a family ranch. No. 20-0687, 2022 Tex. LEXIS 405 (Tex. May 13, 2022). The family ranch was owned by a limited partnership. The largest limited partner was a trust, and all four brothers were trustees of the trust. A family business, which the plaintiff was no longer an owner of, used the family ranch under an alleged oral lease. The plaintiff alleged that the oral lease was for too long a period and was for inadequate lease payments. The plaintiff filed suit in 2016 and complained about the time period of 2000-2007. The plaintiff sued in his capacity as a co-trustee of the trust and as a beneficiary of the trust. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants based on the statute of limitations. The court of appeals reversed.
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Dismisses Claims By Co-Trustee And Beneficiary Due To Statute Of Limitations And Clarifies That An Unnamed Contingent Beneficiary Can Have Standing To Sue

In In the Estate of Johnson, a child of the decedent accepted over $143,000 from the decedent’s estate and then decided to challenge the will due to mental capacity and undue influence. No. 20-0424, 2021 Tex. LEXIS 426 (Tex. May 28, 2021). The trial court ruled that the child could not accept a benefit under the will and then challenge the will and dismissed the child’s claim. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the child did not receive anything that the child would not also receive if there was no will, and therefore, she was not inconsistent and was not estopped from bringing her will contest. The court held that the executor “failed to satisfy her burden, as the Will’s proponent, by failing to demonstrate that [MacNerland] accepted greater benefits than those to which she was entitled under the Will or intestacy laws.” Id. The Texas Supreme Court accepted the will proponent’s petition for review and reversed the court of appeals.
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Holds That A Beneficiary May Not Accept Any Benefit From A Will And Then Later Challenging The Will

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

In Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth v. Episcopal Church, the Texas Supreme Court addressed whether a withdrawing faction was entitled to church property and also addressed a trust issue. No. 18-0438, 2020 Tex. LEXIS 434 (Tex. May 22, 2020). Following a disagreement over religious doctrine dealing with homosexuals, the Episcopal Diocese of Fort

In Yowell v. Granite Operating Co., the Texas Supreme Court reviewed the validity of an interest in a mineral lease regarding the rule against perpetuities (“Rule”). No. 18-0841, 2020 Tex. LEXIS 425 (Tex. May 15, 2020).  The court of appeals held the reserved overriding royalty interest (“ORRI”) in new leases violated the Rule and

In Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. v. Enter. Prods. Partners, L.P., one pipeline company sued another for breaching a duty of loyalty that allegedly arose out of a partnership to develop a pipeline. No. 17-0862, 2020 Tex. LEXIS 46 (Tex. January 31, 2020). One company decided to no longer work with the other and developed

In Godoy v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., a bank sued a guarantor to recover on a deficiency following a foreclosure sale. No. 18-0071, 2019 Tex. LEXIS 443 (Tex. May 10, 2019). The defendant guarantor alleged that any such claim was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The lender argued that the guarantor waived