I enjoy working with other lawyers on unusual cases. Typically, these cases are interesting because the facts are unusual or convoluted, or the law (sometimes even which set of laws to use) is unclear. I unravel these strange situations.
The Estate of Robert H. Coburn, Sr.
Mr. Coburn married his longtime gay partner. Then he changed his will to exclude all gifts to his daughter, naming his husband personal representative and leaving the bulk of his estate to him. Mr. Coburn’s daughter sued to revoke the probate asserting that the will was procured through undue influence and that her father lacked testamentary capacity when he signed the will.
When the litigation escalated, I was asked to become involved. Neither the medical records nor the testimony of the lawyer that drafted the will supported the daughter’s conclusions about testamentary capacity. The lawyer that drafted the will had extensive notes about why Mr. Coburn excluded his daughter from any testamentary gifts.
I was eventually able to persuade Mr. Coburn’s daughter to drop her case without any recovery from the estate. (Some keepsakes were given to her gratuitously).
The Estate of Charles L. Pusser
My client Ms. Smith was a beneficiary of her father’s trust. The trustee of that trust failed to account properly to her. The trustee also failed to pursue debts owed to the estate. We objected and were able to secure the appropriate benefits for Ms. Smith.
I was brought into this case by another lawyer because our client’s decedent was obviously mostly at fault for a single car collision that killed plaintiff’s decedent. Our client’s estate had substantial assets that a judgment could reach. The damages were arguably in excess of $1,000,000 and plaintiff’s decedent would probably appear to the jury as likable, leading them to identify with her.
A claim was sent into the insurance company. It denied coverage, arguably, in bad faith.
The likelihood of a collectable judgment in excess of $1,000,000 concerned our client.
I was called in by the attorney for the estate of the at fault driver, and I had to work out a way to protect the estate’s assets.
I entered into an agreement with plaintiff’s counsel. The agreement called for an arbitration trial to set the amount of damages. In connection with the agreement, plaintiff’s counsel agreed to pursue the insurance policy exclusively to satisfy the arbitration judgment. We agreed to assign our bad faith claim against the insurance carrier to plaintiff. Plaintiff agreed to release the estate of the at-fault driver.
We then went through a day long arbitration trial that resulted in a decision setting the damages well in excess of the available policy limits. Because of our agreement, our client then assigned his bad faith case to plaintiff and was released from any personal liability.
I was brought into this case because plaintiff (the son of the defendant) asserted novel causes of action in attempts to enforce an agreement for the purchase of real estate. The parties had modified a lease to make it into a purchase and sale contract with the lease payments being consideration for the purchase of the real estate. Oral portions (irrelevant because of the parol evidence rule and the statute of frauds) of the agreement were asserted. I obtained dismissals of all the Complaints and Amended Complaints.
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