Representative Experience

  • Represented a group of contingent remainder beneficiaries of a trust in appellate litigation before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. The key issue on appeal was the bankruptcy estate’s entitlement to future trust distributions that would have otherwise been distributed to the contingent remainder beneficiaries following the debtor’s death.
  • Represented a trust beneficiary in her efforts to suspend and remove the trustee of her family trust on the grounds that the trustee breached fiduciary duties including the duties to account, marshal trust assets and avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Represented a beneficiary in an appeal of a ruling on a petition for construction of a trust instrument. The key question on appeal was whether the trial court erred in excluding extrinsic evidence of the settlor’s intent, or whether the plain language of the trust precluded extrinsic evidence.
  • Represented a trust beneficiary in an action contesting an amendment to the beneficiary’s family trust. The core issues at trial were the decedent’s cognitive capacity to execute the trust amendment and the decedent’s vulnerability to undue influence. The case also involved claims of financial elder abuse and wrongful taking under Probate Code section 850.
  • Represented a charitable residuary beneficiary in a dispute involving the allocation of estate taxes associated with specific monetary gifts bequeathed in a trust. The core issue at trial was whether the estate taxes should be borne by the residue or the recipients of the specific gifts. 
  • Represented a designated successor trustee in appellate litigation involving her petition for appointment as successor trustee. The core issue on appeal was whether the trial court’s removal of three former co-trustees triggered the trust’s vacancy provision such that the removed co‑trustees were “unable” or “unwilling” to continue serving. 
  • Defended a trustee against a beneficiary’s claims of breach of fiduciary duty. The core issue at trial was whether the trustee, who was also a beneficiary of his family trust, had administered the trust free from any conflicts of interest and treated the beneficiary impartially.
  • Defended a trustee against claims of undue influence and fraud in connection with the decedent’s trust which was executed at his hospital bed a few months prior to his passing. The core issue at trial was whether the trustee, who was the primary beneficiary of the decedent’s trust, had exerted undue pressure on the decedent to the detriment of the decedent’s other friends.
  • Defended a trustee against an oral pledge claim brought by a charitable entity. The core issue at trial was whether the decedent made a binding oral promise to the charity to fund the building of a religious school.
  • Represented a prominent local Los Angeles museum in litigation involving the museum’s remainder interest in a family trust. The core issue at trial was whether the trustee breached his fiduciary duty to the remainder beneficiary and violated the Prudent Investor Rule by focusing primarily on generating sufficient income for the income beneficiary.
  • Represented a plaintiff in a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claim in civil court. The core issue in the three-week jury trial was whether the seller of car business (replica gullwing Mercedes) defrauded the buyer by selling cars on the side. The case resulted in an $18-million-dollar verdict for the client.