Breach of Trust, Sole Discretion

Fiduciary and trust litigation can be very complex. In certain trust instruments, a trustee is granted “sole discretion” to do certain things. This language, however, can be very misleading. Even when a trustee is granted “sole discretion,” a trustee may be liable if the trustee willfully abuses his discretion, acts arbitrarily, fraudulently, dishonestly, or with…

Waiver Defenses

“Waiver” is a common defense raised in many civil lawsuits. It generally, however, has fairly precise requirements. Specifically, it requires an “intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege, and no one can be bound by waiver unless it was made with full knowledge of the rights intended to be waived.” Fed. Nat’l…

Prima Facie Tort

The “prima facie tort” claim is incredibly vague and confusing. It has four elements: (1) an intentional, lawful act by the defendant; (2) an intent to cause injury to the plaintiff; (3) injury to the plaintiff; and (4) absence of any justification or an insufficient justification for the defendant’s act. Porter v. Crawford & Co.,…

Proving Intent

It is difficult to prove intent, knowledge, and any other condition of mind. The reason is that litigants rarely admit to things. Likewise, direct evidence is often rare. In the context of a plaintiff pleading a lawsuit, “intent…and any other condition of mind may be averred generally.” Clark v. Olson, 726 S.W.2d 718, 719 (Mo….

Contracts, Agreements to Agree

Breach of contract requires: (1) existence and terms of a contract, (2) plaintiff fully performed under the contract, (3) breach by defendant, and (4) damages. Keveney v. Missouri Military Academy, 304 S.W.3d 98, 104 (Mo. 2010). To prove the existence and terms of a contract, there must be: (1) competency of the parties to contract;…

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