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Lynch v. Romano

Court of Appeals of Oregon

May 3, 2017

Christine LYNCH, in her capacity as Trustee of the Restated Chris S. Muller Survivor's Trust, Appellant,
v.
Tony ROMANO, individually, and Rick A Muller, individually, Respondents.

          Argued and submitted November 5, 2015

         Polk County Circuit Court 11P10955; Monte S. Campbell, Judge.

          Matthew Whitman argued the cause and fled the briefs for appellant.

          Joel D. Kalberer argued the cause and fled the brief for respondent Rick A. Muller.

          No appearance for respondent Tony Romano.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Chief Judge, and Egan, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Petitioner, as trustee of her parents' survivor's and decedent's trusts, appeals from a probate court's judgment that denied her petition requesting approval of her plan to redistribute trust assets between the trusts as a remedy for her father's actions as trustee that defunded the decedent's trust. Petitioner argues that the probate court erred because it did not provide petitioner a remedy for her father's actions and because the probate court's judgment went outside of the issues framed by the parties' pleadings.

         Held:

         The probate court was not required to provide petitioner a remedy because petitioner did not show that she had any legal right that had been violated, and the probate court did not rely on any theories or issues other than those framed by the parties. The probate court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to approve petitioner's plan and instructed petitioner to distribute the trust assets in accordance with the trust documents.

         Affirmed.

          EGAN, J.

         Petitioner, as trustee of her parents' survivor's and decedent's trusts, appeals from a probate court's judgment denying petitioner's petition for approval of her plan to redistribute trust assets between the trusts. Petitioner contends that the probate court erred as a matter of law when it refused petitioner's plan of refunding the decedent's trust as a remedy for her father's actions as trustee that improperly defunded the decedent's trust. We conclude that the probate court did not err. Accordingly, we affirm.

         Neither party requests that we review de novo, and we decline to do so. See ORS l9.4l5(3)(b). Because petitioner requested only equitable relief and a probate court has broad discretion in crafting equitable relief, see Port of Morrow v. Avlett.186 Or.App. 70, 76, 62 P.3d 427 (2003), we review the probate court's order for abuse of discretion. A court abuses its discretion if it "is exercised to an end not justified by, and clearly against, evidence and reason." State v. Mason,100 Or.App. 240, 243, 785 P.2d 378 (1990). We review the court's legal conclusions for errors of law and are ...


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