Summary judgment for family trying to include trust in lawsuit reversed

By Charmaine Little | Sep 20, 2018

On Aug. 15, the Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit in the State of Louisiana reversed and remanded a trust and estate case between the family who founded The Brewster Co.

Mary Sue Marioneaux served as the plaintiff on behalf of her late mother, Lela Mae Johnson’s trust. She sued her brother, Lucien Harry Marioneaux Sr., as an individual and as his role as a former trustee for the trust. She also sued her nephew, Lucien Harry Marioneaux Jr., and Marioneaux Properties LP, HBM Interests LLC, Eighty Acres LLC, and Wallace Lake Marioneaux LLC. It was noted Lucien Sr. passed away in July 2016. Lucien Jr. became an administrator and was substituted in the case. That contributed to him being named as a defendant.

The First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo granted a summary judgment on behalf of a trust created by Harry Brewster Marioneaux III (Bruce III); which blocked it from being a party in the lawsuit. The defendants appealed and the appeals court reversed the summary judgment. 

“The trial court did not give adequate consideration to the current procedural posture of the case, which changed after the reconventional demand and cross-claim were filed,” the appeals court determined. It added there were vague and uncertain challenges that still needed to be addressed in the complex case.

When Johnson passed in 1994, she had a $1.7 million estate. She and the trust ended up filing a breach of trust and failure to account for the trust property lawsuit. She accused the defendants of taking money from the trust and putting it fabricated companies, among other things. The defendants responded and submitted several exceptions, including the exception of nonjoinder of a necessary party under the notions that Kylie Moore, a trustee of a trust created by Bruce III should also be named. 

The plaintiffs challenged the exception and said a settlement agreement previously reached blocked the trust from filing any claims against the Bruce III trust.

Judges Jeanette Garrett, Shonda Stone and Jay McCallum concurred in the opinion.

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