Private Client, Trust & Estate Litigation

From complex trust and estate disputes involving breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims to high-stakes divorce proceedings, our lawyers are adept at handling these highly-sensitive and often-times very high-profile matters with meticulous attention and discretion.

In Re: Estate of John M. O’Quinn, Deceased
We represented the John M. O’Quinn Foundation, the sole beneficiary under the will of the late, legendary trial lawyer John O’Quinn, in a dispute with Darla Lexington, O’Quinn’s companion.  Ms. Lexington claimed that she was entitled to a substantial portion of O’Quinn’s Estate on several theories: (1) that she was O’Quinn’s common law wife; (2) that O’Quinn made undocumented gifts of cars, memorabilia, art and real property to her during his lifetime; and (3) O’Quinn and/or his law firm breached fiduciary duties owed to her.  The Executor of O’Quinn’s Estate and the Foundation disputed all of these claims and contended that Mr. O’Quinn was an unmarried man at his death, did not make the substantial “gifts” at issue, and did not breach any fiduciary duty owed to Ms. Lexington.  After successfully defeating Ms. Lexington’s challenge to the Foundation’s standing to participate in the case as a party in the trial court and her subsequent petitions for writ of mandamus to the First Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court, and obtaining favorable summary judgment and pretrial rulings, the parties entered into a settlement agreement just days before trial was scheduled to begin.  The mutually agreeable settlement terms are confidential.

The Interfinancial Corporation v. Simon Jacobson, in His Capacity As Executor of the Estate of Marcel Degraye, Deceased
We represented the executor of an estate in a suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and a request for an accounting by a company against its deceased founder.  Plaintiff originally demanded cash and securities in excess of $100 million.  By the time of trial, Plaintiff dropped a number of its claims.  Our client received a directed verdict in its favor at the close of Plaintiff’s case.

Ruth Bauer v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al.
We represented the Charles T. Bauer Foundation, a charitable organization created by the late Ted Bauer, founder of AIM Investments. The Foundation was an intervenor in a lawsuit brought by Mr. Bauer’s estranged spouse against his estate alleging that he mismanaged community property during his lifetime.  Plaintiff alleged over $300 million in damages, an amount that would have depleted all of the Foundation’s funds.  The lawsuit was settled on very favorable terms, and the Foundation was able to continue its charitable giving without substantial interruption.

Yvonne Melcher v. Richard Kerr and Bill Lewis
We represented both Defendant trustees in a breach of fiduciary duty suit brought by the trust beneficiary claiming that the trustees were mismanaging the trust and depleting its assets.  We successfully defended against injunctive relief sought by the beneficiary that would have crippled the trust’s business operations and settled the dispute on favorable terms for our clients.