United States District Court, D. Connecticut
THE RAYMOND LOUBIER IRREVOCABLE TRUST, THE NOELLA LOUBIER IRREVOCABLE TRUST, and THE ESTATE OF GERVAIS A. LOUBIER, Plaintiffs,
NOELLA LOUBIER, THE RAYMOND LOUBIER REVOCABLE TRUST, and THE NOELLA LOUBIER REVOCABLE TRUST, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
W. EGINTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an action by two irrevocable trusts and an estate claiming
violation of fiduciary duties by the trustee of the defendant
trusts. Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment, accounting,
and damages against the individual defendant as trustee and
the two revocable trusts.
have moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety. For the
following reasons, defendants' motion will be granted.
argue at the outset that they are not subject to personal
jurisdiction, as none of them maintains any meaningful
contacts with the state of Connecticut. Plaintiffs respond
that personal jurisdiction “may be sustained under the
analysis in Parker v. Stone.” See
2008 WL 323876 (D. Conn. Feb. 4, 2008). Parker
concerned a suit against an attorney, Van Nuys, for improper
conservation, management, and execution of the Parker's
estates. There, the court held that Van Nuys had conducted
sufficient business in Connecticut and purposefully availed
himself of the benefits of Connecticut law:
The court finds the Connecticut long-arm statute applies to
Van Nuys. He purposefully sought employment within
Connecticut by contracting to both create and become
co-trustee of the AFP Trust, at the request of Alice Parker,
a Connecticut resident. Van Nuys traveled to Connecticut to
finalize an amendment to the AFP Trust that specifically
named him co-trustee. Upon Alice Parker's death, Van Nuys
continued his duties, for which he was compensated, as the
estate was probated in Connecticut. He was an active
participant in the probate proceedings, including making
probate court appearances and filing documents with the
court. Additionally, he initiated a dispute in Connecticut
probate court over the disposition of assets within the
state, most notably the contents of Alice Parker's safe
deposit box in a Connecticut bank. Finally, Van Nuys was an
active and willing participant in the circumstances regarding
Larry Parker's estate. Larry Parker's estate and the
attendant probate court proceedings are intrinsically linked
to the estate of Alice Parker and the allegations against Van
Based on the same set of facts, the court also finds that due
process is not offended by the exercise of jurisdiction over
Van Nuys. It was foreseeable that Van Nuys could be sued in
Connecticut regarding the ongoing disputes over Alice
Parker's estate. Van Nuys went so far as to interject
himself in probate proceedings in Connecticut regarding both
Parker estates, and even initiated probate court proceedings
seeking unpaid fees and control over assets in Connecticut.
2008 WL 323876, at *3 (D. Conn. Feb. 3, 2008).
the instant case shares no similarity of facts with
Parker. Here, it is undisputed that the defendant
trusts are Florida trusts, drafted and signed in Florida.
They have been administered exclusively in Florida. The
trusts maintain no property in Connecticut. Nor has the
trustee, Noella Loubier, had any personal connection to
Connecticut that would avail her of the benefits and
protections of Connecticut law or give her the expectation
that she could be haled into a Connecticut court.
bear the burden of demonstrating that the court has personal
jurisdiction over defendants. Whitaker v. American
Telecasting, Inc., 261 F.3d 196, 208 (2d Cir. 2001).
This showing can be made through affidavits and supporting
materials “containing an averment of facts that, if
credited, would suffice to establish jurisdiction over the
defendant[s].” Id. Here, plaintiffs have
failed to assert any facts to establish such jurisdiction.
argue in the alternative that quasi in rem jurisdiction
should apply but again fail to assert any facts that would
establish such jurisdiction. Instead, plaintiffs rely without
explanation on another inapposite case, Monahan v.
Holmes, 139 F.Supp.2d 253 (D. Conn. 2001), which
plaintiffs characterize as “quite parallel.”
Monahan is not parallel to the instant case. See
id. at 262. There, the court found that the defendant
purposely availed herself of the benefits and protections of
the laws of the State of Connecticut by appointing the
plaintiff, a Connecticut resident, to serve as trustee of the
trust at issue. Id. Indeed, trustees are the real
parties in interest to a controversy involving a trust based
on their possession of “certain customary powers to
hold, manage, and dispose of assets, ” See Navarro
Sav. Ass'n v. Lee, 446 U.S. 458, 464-65 (1980), and
trusts are incapable of being haled into court except through
their trustees. See Raymond Loubier Irrevocable Trust v.
Loubier, 858 F.3d 719, 731 (2d Cir. 2017).
as discussed above, the defendant trusts are Florida trusts
with a Florida resident trustee. It is unclear why plaintiffs
characterize Monahan as “quite
parallel.” It is similarly unclear how characterizing
this case as involving quasi in rem jurisdiction helps
plaintiffs' cause, as there is no allegation that this
case involves property connected to the State of Connecticut.
the Second Circuit has determined that trusts cannot sue or
be sued except through their trustees, Loubier 858
at 731, and an estate is also not a legal entity with the
capacity to sue under Connecticut law. See Rock v.
University of Connecticut, 323 Conn. 26, 32 (2016)
(holding that no action may be commenced except in the name
of the executor or administrator, and a motion to dismiss
will be sustained if an action is commenced simply in the
name of the estate). Accordingly, all of the named plaintiffs
lack the capacity to sue, and the case may be dismissed on
that basis alone.
request that the court transfer this case to the District of
Florida in lieu of dismissal. Defendants respond that
transfer is inappropriate, as it is not in the interest of
justice to transfer a meritless claim, especially where
plaintiffs lack capacity to sue in the first place. See
Thomas v. Barrett, Daffin, Frappier, Turner & Engel
LLP, 532 Fed.Appx. 10, 11-12 (2d Cir. 2013) (affirming
dismissal in favor of transfer where plaintiffs lacked
standing). Defendants also contend that plaintiffs' lack
of attentiveness should weigh in favor of dismissal. See
Spar, Inc. v. Information Resources, Inc., 956 F.2d 392,
394 (2d Cir. 1992) (“Upon reviewing the facts, we
conclude that allowing a transfer in this ...