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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Floyd and Kathleen Cailloux hired Baker Botts to devise an estate plan for their multimillion-dollar estate. Floyd died before Baker Botts could finish all stages of the estate plan. Given the status of the estate planning, Kathleen’s estate faced an estate tax bill at that point of approximately $32 million, endangering the couple’s plan to avoid taxation and pass as much wealth to their children as possible. Thus, Baker Botts designed a revised estate plan for Kathleen immediately following her husband’s death. Under the revised plan, Kathleen voluntarily disclaimed her right to her husband’s share of the marital estate. As a result of Kathleen’s disclaimer, $65.5 million vested immediately in various charitable organizations Floyd had designated in his will. Kathleen subsequently became incapacitated by Alzheimer’s disease and her son Ken Cailloux took over her affairs. More than six years after Kathleen disclaimed her husband’s estate, Ken, as next friend of Kathleen, sued Baker Botts as well as Wells Fargo Bank NA, the executor of Floyd’s estate, for, inter alia, breach of fiduciary duty relative to Kathleen’s execution of the disclaimer. A jury found that Baker Botts and Wells Fargo breached their fiduciary duties to Kathleen. The jury further found that Kathleen would have received $65.5 million in trust had she not disclaimed her right to Floyd’s estate. The jury, however, also determined that Kathleen had no lost-income damages and no economic-loss damages as a result of executing the disclaimer. Based on the jury’s findings, the trial court created a $65.5 million equitable trust through its judgment to benefit Kathleen. The trial court ordered that Baker Botts and Wells Fargo fund the trust, which was similar to the trust that would have existed had Kathleen not executed the disclaimer. Baker Botts and Wells Fargo appealed the trial court’s judgment, claiming, inter alia, that: 1. there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s findings that their alleged breaches of fiduciary duty proximately caused Kathleen damage; and 2. the trial court lacked power to create an equitable trust under the circumstances presented. Ken also appealed the trial court’s judgment, claiming there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding of no lost income. HOLDING:Affirmed in part, reversed and rendered in part. Ken argued that Wells Fargo breached its fiduciary duties to Kathleen by: 1. failing to explain the implications or risks of the joint representation by Baker Botts of Kathleen, Wells Fargo and the Old Foundation, an entity set up by Baker Botts for the Caillouxes, through which they would make charitable gifts; 2. failing to inform her that William Goertz, a regional president of Wells Fargo Bank, allegedly “was scheming with Baker Botts to dispossess her of the $65.5 million marital trust under the guise of tax savings”; and 3. failing to explain the contents of Floyd’s will and her rights under the will. Ken argued that had Wells Fargo not breached its fiduciary duties, Kathleen would not have disclaimed her right to Floyd’s estate and would have pursued a different course of action. None of the witnesses who testified at trial, however, had any knowledge of Kathleen’s true wishes or intentions. Thus, the court found that any assumption about what Kathleen would have done had she known of the purported failures of Wells Fargo is based on nothing more than conjecture. Ken argued that Kathleen’s decision to disclaim was “inapposite with logic and human nature,” because no individual, given the choice of “keeping their money and the power over it and paying no taxes” or “giving away their money and the power over it and paying no taxes” would choose to divest. But the court stated that Ken’s argument ignored the fact that the probate court accepted Kathleen’s disclaimer. Although Ken may have made a different decision than his mother, the court stated, that fact does not render his mother’s decision unreasonable as a matter of law. Kathleen was independently wealthy, the court stated, and made a choice to support her husband’s charities now, rather than later. The court therefore found that Ken’s evidence failed to establish causation as a matter of law. In light of Ken’s failure to prove causation, the court reversed the judgment of the trial court and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Baker Botts and Wells Fargo. Ken’s responses to Baker Botts’ arguments are essentially the same as those raised in his response to Wells Fargo’s causation complaint, the court stated. Consequently, the court rejected Ken’s contentions against Baker Botts for the same reasons that it rejected Ken’s complaints against Wells Fargo. To the extent that the trial court’s judgment awarded Ken nothing for Kathleen’s lost-income damages, the court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. Alternatively, the court stated that even if it were to assume that Ken proved causation as a matter of law at trial, it would nonetheless hold that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing an equitable trust upon Baker Botts and Wells Fargo. OPINION:Stone, J.; Lopez, C.J., and Stone and Angelini, J.J.

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