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

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

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

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

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