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

Texas Supreme Court Held Bank Was Not Liable For Fraudulent Withdrawals From An Account Due To UCC 4.406

In Compass Bank v. Calleja-Ahedo, an identity thief drained the plaintiff’s bank account through a series of fraudulent transactions in 2012 and 2013, and the plaintiff sued his bank to recover the stolen funds. No. 17-0065, 2018 Tex. LEXIS 1314 (Tex. December 21, 2018). The trial court granted summary judgment for the bank under Section…… 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