Justia Trusts & Estates Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
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Plaintiffs, Chinese citizens who were imprisoned for expressing dissent on the internet, filed suit alleging that, as part of an earlier settlement, Yahoo established a charitable trust to provide humanitarian and legal assistance to imprisoned Chinese dissidents and that defendants improperly depleted the trust's funds, terminating it altogether. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that plaintiffs plausibly alleged that Yahoo established a charitable trust and that plaintiffs' "special interest" in the trust was sufficient to give them standing to enforce it. In this case, the Settlement Agreement created a charitable trust. Furthermore, plaintiffs' allegations satisfied the two prongs of the Hooker special interest standing test, because plaintiffs challenged an extraordinary measure threatening the existence of the trust, raising an issue that could only be tried once, and they plausibly satisfied the requirement that they belong to a class of potential beneficiaries that was sharply defined and limited in number. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "He Depu v. Yahoo! Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2010, the widow of a Taiwanese plastics magnate and billionaire filed suit against the trusts created before her husband's death, alleging that the transfer of a large portion of her husband's assets to the trusts unlawfully denied her the full marital estate to which she was entitled. The district court ultimately granted, subject to conditions, the trusts' motion to dismiss the complaint on forum non conveniens grounds. The DC Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the district court failed to give appropriate weight to the widow's legitimate choice of forum and erred in concluding that the private interest factors weighed slightly in favor of dismissal and in overemphasizing the public interest factors in deciding to dismiss this case on forum non conveniens grounds. In this case, the trusts failed to meet its heavy burden of showing that suit in the United States was so inconvenient as to be harassing, vexing, or oppressive. The court held that, the district court's errors, considered together, constituted a clear abuse of discretion. View "Shi v. New Mighty U.S. Trust" on Justia Law