United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
KRISTIN ANDRADE, as Trustee for The Paul H. Stavig Family Revocable 1976 Trust, f/k/a The Paul and Lorraine Stavig Revocable Living Trust, dated February 11, 1976; and KRISTIN ANDRADE, as Trustee of The California Special Fund Oral Trust, dated June 27, 2012, Plaintiffs,
BARRY ANTON, an individual; BARRY ANTON, as Personal Representative for the Estate of Maren Stavig; BARRY ANTON, as Trustee of the Anton and Stavig Living Trust; The Estate of Maren Stavig; The Anton and Stavig Living Trust, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
B. Leighton United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Barry Anton's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Kristin Andrade's First
Amended Complaint (FAC) under Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).
Dkt # 30. This is a factually complicated family (and family
trust) dispute over the ownership of $250, 000.
and Lorraine Stavig established the Stavig Family Trust in
1976. They were co-trustees and their children were the
beneficiaries. Paul and Lorraine had three daughters: Rondi,
Kristin, and Maren. Rondi Stavig was disabled and suffered
from mental health issues. Rondi also has a daughter named
Rosheen Ward-Nulph. Plaintiff Kristin's last name is now
Andrade. Maren was married to Defendant Barry Anton. Maren
and Anton established the Anton and Stavig Living Trust
(“Anton Living Trust”) as co-trustees in 2008.
claims that Lorraine and Paul established a separate trust to
provide for Rondi and her disabilities (the Rondi Lynn Stavig
Special Needs Trust, or “Rondi's Trust”) in
2008. The Stavig Family Trust was then amended to make
Rondi's Trust a beneficiary, rather than Rondi herself.
Rondi's Trust provided that “upon the death of
Rondi, all undistributed principal of Rondi's Trust was
to be given to Rondi's daughter, Rosheen Ward-Nulp, in a
separate discretionary trust.” Dkt # 31 ¶ 38.
2012, Lorraine (as trustee of the Stavig Family Trust) gave
Maren a $250, 000 check drawn on the Stavig Family
Trust's checking account. The purpose of that transaction
is the central dispute in the case. Andrade claims that the
$250, 000 was given to Maren in trust (the California Special
Fund Oral Trust, or “Special Fund”) for the
benefit of Rondi and her daughter. Anton claims the money was
given to Maren as a gift.
became the sole trustee of the Stavig Family Trust when Paul
died, and in 2014 Lorraine appointed Maren and Andrade as her
co-trustees. FAC Dkt # 22 ¶ 18. In 2016, the Stavig
Family Trust was amended to reduce Rondi's share
(actually, Rondi's Trust's share) by $415, 000.
Andrade claims that Lorraine reduced Rondi's share
because she had already given Maren $250, 000 to hold in
trust “for the benefit of Rondi and her daughter
Rosheen Ward-Nulph, ” and because Lorraine had
previously given Rondi an additional $165, 000 in gifts. Dkt
# 22 ¶ 22. Thus, Andrade claims, the Stavig
Family Trust amendment reflected these other assets. Andrade
claims that if the $250, 000 was not given and held in trust
for Rondi (or Rondi's trust), the Family Trust will have
to be revised again to “give her back” that
Maren, and Rondi died in the fall of 2017, and Andrade became
the sole trustee of the Stavig Family Trust in November 2017.
After her mother died, Rosheen became the sole surviving
beneficiary of Rondi's Trust (and of the Special Fund, to
the extent it exists).
claims that the same event-Maren's death- made him the
proper recipient of the $250, 000. Anton now claims he is
entitled to the money as her surviving husband, because the
money was given to Maren as a gift.
claims Anton is not entitled to the money because Maren held
the money in trust for the benefit of Rondi (and, after Rondi
passed, for the benefit of her daughter, Rosheen). Andrade
claims that she repeatedly discussed the Special Fund with
Maren, and that, before she died, Maren made Andrade the
Special Fund's successor trustee. In 2018, Andrade
demanded that Anton return the $250, 000 to the Special Fund.
Anton refused, claiming the money was a gift, and that there
was no evidence supporting the existence of any
“Special Fund.” Andrade sued Anton in California
in her capacity as the trustee of the Stavig Family Trust
(but not as the trustee of the Special Fund),
claiming that the $250, 000 belonged to the Special Fund, and
that Anton's retention of it was wrongful. Anton moved to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue
and asked the Court to at least transfer the case to
Washington. He did not argue that Andrade did not have
California Court denied those motions, and instead sua
sponte dismissed the case without prejudice. It ruled
that, as the trustee for the Stavig Family Trust (the only
capacity in which she sued), Andrade did not have standing to
sue to recover the $250, 000 on behalf of the Special Fund
(which was not a party, but which had suffered an injury):
Taking the facts alleged in the FAC as true, Kristin Andrade,
in her role as trustee of the Stavig Trust, lacks standing to
bring this suit . . . . There has been no injury to the
Stavig Trust vis-à-vis Defendant's alleged
actions; the injury in fact is to the Special Fund,
and its beneficiaries . . . . Assuming the Special
Fund is a valid Special Fund, Plaintiff Kristin Andrade is
neither the trustee of the Special Fund (the injured trust)
nor a beneficiary of the Special Fund. Moreover, a trustee of
a first trust does not somehow acquire standing to pursue,
for its benefit, claims of harm to a second trust simply
because that first trust was the source of the res for the
second trust . . . . For the reasons set forth above, this
suit is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
Dkt # 31, ex. 7, p. 5-6 (emphasis added).
sued here, as the trustee of the Special Fund and of
the Stavig Family Trust, again seeking to recover the $250,
000 from Anton for the Special fund. Anton again seeks
dismissal, now arguing that the California Court made
“factual findings” and conclusively determined
that Andrade has no standing to pursue ...