In re McCarty, 060220 AZAPP1, 1 CA-CV 19-0056

Docket Nº:1 CA-CV 19-0056
Opinion Judge:PERKINS, JUDGE
Party Name:In the Matter of: ROGER H. MCCARTY, ROGER MCCARTY TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY EXEMPT MARITAL TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY NON-EXEMPT MARITAL TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY FAMILY TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY EXEMPT FAMILY TRUST, ROGER MCCARTY NON-EXEMPT FAMILY TRUST v. JANE L. MCCARTY, Respondent/Appellee/Cross-Appellant. MICHELE MCCARTY WOODS, Petitioner/...
Attorney:Snell & Wilmer, LLP, Phoenix By John C. Vryhof, Kevin W. Wright Counsel for Petitioner/Appellant/Cross-Appellee Sherman & Howard LLC, Phoenix By Matthew A. Hesketh, Sean M. Moore Counsel for Respondent/Appellee/Cross-Appellant
Judge Panel:Judge Jennifer M. Perkins delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge David D. Weinzweig and Judge James B. Morse Jr. joined.
Case Date:June 02, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Arizona
 
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In the Matter of: ROGER H. MCCARTY, ROGER MCCARTY TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY EXEMPT MARITAL TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY NON-EXEMPT MARITAL TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY FAMILY TRUST, THE ROGER MCCARTY EXEMPT FAMILY TRUST, ROGER MCCARTY NON-EXEMPT FAMILY TRUST

MICHELE MCCARTY WOODS, Petitioner/Appellant/Cross-Appellee,

v.

JANE L. MCCARTY, Respondent/Appellee/Cross-Appellant.

No. 1 CA-CV 19-0056

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

June 2, 2020

Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. PB2016-003876 The Honorable Carolyn K. Passamonte, Judge Pro Tempore, Retired

Snell & Wilmer, LLP, Phoenix By John C. Vryhof, Kevin W. Wright Counsel for Petitioner/Appellant/Cross-Appellee

Sherman & Howard LLC, Phoenix By Matthew A. Hesketh, Sean M. Moore Counsel for Respondent/Appellee/Cross-Appellant

Judge Jennifer M. Perkins delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge David D. Weinzweig and Judge James B. Morse Jr. joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

PERKINS, JUDGE

¶1 Michele McCarty Woods ("Michele") appeals the superior court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Jane McCarty as the trustee ("Trustee") and beneficiary of the Roger McCarty Trust ("Trust"), and the Trustee cross-appeals the court's denial of its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm the exercise of personal jurisdiction, but reverse the finding that Michele is not entitled to an accounting. We remand for the superior court to consider whether Michele established good cause for her entitlement to an accounting as an interested person and, if so, a determination of the sufficiency of the accounting previously provided.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶2 Roger McCarty created the Roger McCarty Trust. The Roger McCarty Trust Declaration states, and the parties do not dispute, that it is a Texas trust to be governed by Texas law. See Trust, Art. XI. Michele is one of Roger's two surviving adult children. On Roger's death in 2011, the assets of the Roger McCarty Trust, after certain distributions to specific individuals, were distributed among three trusts: (1) the Roger McCarty Exempt Marital Trust, (2) the Roger McCarty Non-Exempt Marital Trust I, and (3) the Roger McCarty Non-Exempt Marital Trust II (collectively, "the Marital Trusts"). See Trust, Art. V.

¶3Jane, Roger's widow, is the sole trustee of the Marital Trusts. See Trust, Art. II. During Jane's life, she is the sole income beneficiary of the Marital Trusts. See Trust, Art. V. On Jane's death, the Marital Trusts terminate and the assets of the Marital Trusts will be distributed to the Roger McCarty Non-Exempt Family Trust and the Roger McCarty Exempt Family Trust (collectively, the "Family Trusts"). See Trust, Art. V(C)(2). Michele is one of several Family Trust beneficiaries. See Trust, Art. VI.

¶4 The Trustee provided Michele with the Marital Trusts' tax returns, which include balance sheets listing the Trusts' assets, income, expenses, and distributions, for 2014 through 2016. In 2016, Michele petitioned in Maricopa County superior court for an accounting, alleging that despite her written request, the Trustee did not provide a proper accounting as required by Texas law. The Trustee moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that Arizona did not have personal jurisdiction over her because she was a Texas resident and the Marital Trusts are Texas trusts. The superior court denied the motion to dismiss. The parties then filed competing motions for summary judgment. After oral argument, the court found Michele was not entitled to an accounting because she was not a beneficiary of the Marital Trusts. The court granted judgment in favor of the Trustee, dismissed the petition for an accounting, and awarded $40, 866.67 in attorneys' fees to the Trustee. After the court denied her motion to alter, amend, or vacate the judgment, Michele filed a timely notice of appeal. We have jurisdiction under A.R.S. section 12-2101(A)(1).

DISCUSSION

I.

Personal Jurisdiction

¶5 The superior court exercised statutory personal jurisdiction after finding that Michele made a prima facie showing that Arizona is the principal place of administration for the Marital Trusts, which the Trustee failed to rebut. Arizona Tile, L.L.C. v. Berger, 223 Ariz. 491, 493, ¶ 8 (App. 2010). We review this ruling de novo. Hoag v. French, 238 Ariz. 118, 121, 122, ¶¶ 10, 17 (App. 2015). A prima facie case requires evidence sufficient to avoid a directed verdict. Bohreer v. Erie Ins. Exchange, 216 Ariz. 208, 211, ¶ 7 (App. 2007). A directed verdict should be granted only if the evidence, taken in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, "has so little probative value that reasonable people could not find for the claimant." Shoen v. Shoen, 191 Ariz. 64, 65 (App. 1997).

A. Statutory Jurisdiction

¶6 By statute, Arizona may exercise jurisdiction over trusts that have Arizona as their principal place of administration. A.R.S. § 14-10202(A). Michele argues that Arizona is the principal place of administration for the Marital Trusts. The Trustee argues that Roger McCarty, the trustor, intended Texas to be the principal place of administration because the Trust Declaration states that it is a Texas trust "to be governed, construed, and administered according to its laws, and shall continue to be so, although conducted or administered elsewhere within...

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