Marshall v. Marshall, No. 14-18-00094-CV, 2021 WL 208459 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 21, 2021, no pet. h.).


In Terrorem Provision


Appellee claimed that Appellants violated an in terrorem clause because they brought proceedings to change trustees, change the state which governs the trust, and introduce a different in terrorem clause. Appellant demonstrated that disputing conduct as violating the in terrorem  provisions triggered the Texas Citizens Participation Act because it is based on filing a petition. Because there was no evidence that any of these actions affected the property to which Appellee may be entitled, the court concluded that Appellee did not establish a prima facie case that Appellants violated the in terrorem clause. Accordingly the court held that the trial court erred in denying Appellants’ motion to dismiss Appellee’s claims based on the in terrorem clause.


Note: The court also determined that Appellee’s breach of fiduciary duty claims were not covered by the Texas Citizens Participation Act.


Moral:  Use of the Texas Citizens Participation Act in will and trust disputes adds a new dimension to litigation.