United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
OPINION & ORDER
E. WIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court confronts a dispute over family and money. Plaintiff
Wilson, one of seven children of the late Edward and Jane
Wilson, sues two siblings (Erin Adcock and Amy Shelton) over
alleged impropriety in their handling of entrusted family
Complaint and its attachments, three trusts pertain: a 1995
Trust (as amended and restated), a 2014 Revocable Trust, and
a 2014 Family Dynasty Trust. Adcock and Shelton, the Complaint
alleges, improperly used a durable power of attorney (granted
by Jane Wilson) to siphon assets from the 1995 Trust, in the
period between 2010 and 2014. Then, as Co-Trustees under the
two 2014 Trusts, Adcock and Shelton allegedly continued to
make improper transfers and then defrauded Plaintiff, or
tried to do so, with respect to his rights. Plaintiff Wilson
sues alone, but he purports to represent, functionally at
least, the interests of all Trust beneficiaries. The
Complaint is the only pleading, at this stage, and the Court
accepts its well-pleaded allegations as true.
Complaint has some omissions of interest to the Court.
Although Plaintiff seeks to redress wrongs and claw back
monies misspent under the 1995 Trust, DE 1 ¶ 30-33,
Plaintiff did not name that Trust itself as a party.
Plaintiff also did not name the 2014 Trusts, even though the
Complaint targets Trust management and seeks to depose the
Trustees and augment the Trust's (or Trusts')
corpus/corpora. Id. at Prayer (g), (i). No. one has
complained about that structural omission, and presumably
naming the Trustees is enough to deal with trust mechanics
and powers. Further, the Complaint generally identifies Trust
beneficiaries but does not name the current roster. Thus,
although Plaintiff purports to act for the benefit of the
full non-party beneficiary roster (to include replenishing
the Trusts and changing trustees), the pleading does not
provide current information about the roster, which is a
pending motion addresses failure to join. Defendants (who
are co-Trustees and also beneficiaries) argue that all
beneficiaries should be part of the suit. They seek relief
under Rule 19, ultimately arguing for dismissal under the
Rule 19(a)/(b) sequential rubric. The matter is fully briefed.
See DE 8, 9, 10, 14. The Court has read the full
record, carefully and pragmatically assessing the facts and
posture in the case.
Court notes the breadth of Plaintiff s undertaking, here on
diversity jurisdiction. By the Complaint, Wilson seeks
accountings under all Trusts. He seeks to recover all
misspent (by Defendants) money during the period of the 1995
Trust and similar relief under the 2014 Trusts. Further,
Wilson endeavors to hold Adcock and Shelton liable for
related fraud and fiduciary duty breaches. Alternative or
supplementary theories include conversion and unjust
enrichment. The Complaint seeks imposition of a constructive
trust (and/or deposit of recovered funds into the 2014
the Complaint includes the demand for removal of Adcock and
Shelton as Trustees, along with the naming of a successor
trustee(s). DE 1 ¶ Prayer (g). Finally, it seems Wilson
endeavors a personal recovery for punitive damages, aimed at
direct behavior toward him (id. ¶ 120) but also
the general wrongs claimed.
Court, in this nascent matter, turns to the Rule 19 analysis.
The Rule calls for a sequential process. Is the nonparty a
“required party”? If so, and joinder is not
feasible, should the Court forge ahead or dismiss? Glancy
v. Taubman Centers, Inc., 373 F.3d 656, 666 (6th Cir.
2004) (describing three-step sequence under Rule).
The beneficiaries are parties required to be joined if
(a) Persons Required to Be Joined if Feasible.
(1) Required Party. A person who is subject to service of
process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of
subject-matter jurisdiction must be joined as a party if:
(A) in that person's absence, the court cannot accord
complete relief among existing parties; or
(B) that person claims an interest relating to the subject of
the action and is so situated that disposing of the action in