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Purcella v. Olive Kathryn Purcella Trust

Supreme Court of Alaska

April 18, 2014

OLIVE KATHRYN PURCELLA, Appellant,
v.
OLIVE KATHRYN PURCELLA TRUST, Appellee

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Mark Rindner, Judge. Superior Court No. 3AN-10-12346 CI.

Ted Stepovich, Law Office of Ted Stepovich, Anchorage, for Appellant.

Jonathon A. Katcher, Pope & Katcher, Anchorage, for Appellee.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, and Bolger, Justices. [Maassen, Justice, not participating.].

OPINION

Page 988

BOLGER, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Olive Kathryn Purcella (Kathryn) filed a petition in the Anchorage superior court to reform or terminate the Olive Kathryn Purcella Trust (the trust). The superior court held, after trial, that Kathryn had not shown by clear and convincing evidence that she did not intend to execute an irrevocable trust or that the trust was the product of undue influence. It accordingly denied her petition. Kathryn appeals, arguing that the factual findings on which the superior court predicated its ruling were clearly erroneous. We affirm the judgment of the superior court because Kathryn has not established that the key factual findings on which the superior court based its conclusion were clearly erroneous.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

A. Facts

Kathryn is the widow of Tony Purcella. She has five sons: Danny, Rick, Gorden, Steve, and Mark.

Before Tony Purcella's death in 2000, he and Kathryn owned 52% of the stock in Anchorage Roofing and Contracting, Inc. (Anchorage Roofing), a closely held family corporation. Although Kathryn was the devisee of Tony's shares, Rick, acting as the personal representative of Tony's estate, transferred those shares back to the corporation without informing Kathryn or obtaining her consent. Kathryn sued Rick and Anchorage Roofing, claiming breach of fiduciary duties and conversion. The parties submitted

Page 989

their dispute to binding arbitration. In an April 15, 2008 decision, the arbitrator found for Kathryn and ordered Rick, among other things, to pay Kathryn $3,500 per month and to quitclaim certain real property to her. A ...


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