Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

De Prins v. Michaeles

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 26, 2018

HARRY DE PRINS, Plaintiff
v.
MICHAEL J. MICHAELES, Personal Representative of the Estate of Donald Belanger and Trustee of The Donald Belanger Irrevocable Trust and THE DONALD BELANGER IRREVOCABLE TRUST DATED October 28, 2008 Defendants.

          AMENDED MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Timothy S. Hillman United States District Judge.

         Introduction

         Plaintiff Harry De Prins (“Plaintiff” or “De Prins”) asserts a single claim against Defendants Michael J. Michaeles, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Donald Belanger and Trustee of the Donald Belanger Irrevocable Trust, and the Donald Belanger Irrevocable Trust Dated October 28, 2008 (collectively, the “Defendants”) for action to reach and apply interest in a trust after a judgment. This Order addresses both Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Docket No. 115) and Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 106). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is denied and Plaintiff's motion is granted.

         Procedural and Factual Background

         Donald and Ellen Belanger moved from Massachusetts to Arizona in 2000. In Arizona, the couple disagreed with their neighbors, Armand and Simone DePrins, parents of plaintiff Harry DePrins, about shared water rights and ended up in court. The Belangers lost the law suit and in June of 2008, moved to California. Ellen Belanger committed suicide in California in October of 2008.

         Donald Belanger moved back to Arizona to live with his daughter. Shortly after moving there, Belanger created the Donald A. Belanger Irrevocable Trust, dated October 28, 2008. Donald Belanger's trust was a self-settled trust, where he, the beneficiary, was also the settlor. and conveyed substantially all of his assets to Defendant Michaeles, as Trustee of the Trust. At the time of settling the Trust, Belanger was a resident of and/or domiciled in the State of Arizona. Belanger executed the Trust, as well as his Last Will and Testament, in the State of Arizona. (SOF ¶2). During the winter, becoming more depressed and talking about suicide, Belanger made plans to move back east to Connecticut to live with his sister. On March 2, 2009, Belanger shot and killed Armand and Simone DePrins in a Walmart Supercenter store in Show Low, Arizona. The next morning, on March 3, 2009, Belanger was pulled over on a highway in New Mexico and shot and killed himself before the officer got to his car.

         Following the murder of his parents by Belanger, Plaintiff brought a wrongful death action (the “Wrongful Death Action”) against, among others, Defendant Michaeles, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Donald Belanger (the “Estate”)[1]. Later, the Wrongful Death Action was removed by one of the defendants in that case to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Docket No. 10-08133-DKD). Initially, in his Answer filed September 13, 2011, Michaeles, acting in his capacity as the Personal Representative of the Estate, had denied that Belanger was responsible for the deaths of Simonne and Armand DePrins. On September 30, 2014, Michaeles amended the Estate's Answer in the Wrongful Death Action to admit that Donald Belanger had “mortally wounded by gunfire Plaintiff's decedents” Simonne DePrins and Armand DePrins.

         In or about July of 2015, Harry DePrins, as Creditor in the probate action for the Estate (Superior Court of Navajo County, Arizona, Docket No. 2010-00048) (the“Probate Action”) and Plaintiff in both the Wrongful Death Action and the present action, entered into a stipulation in open court with Michael J. Michaeles, as the Personal Representative of the Estate in the Probate Action and the Wrongful Death Action. In that stipulation, the parties agreed that: (1) Plaintiff's claim against the Estate shall be settled by entry of an agreement for judgment for the Plaintiff against the Estate in the amount of $750, 000 in the Wrongful Death Action (10-08133-DKD, Doc. No. 73); (2) collection of the judgment will be exclusively against the Trust in the enforcement action; and, (3) the enforcement action, which was originally filed in the District of Arizona (14-08230), would be transferred to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Worcester (15-40093-TSH, Doc. No. 21) (hereinafter the “Stipulation”).

         In accordance with that Stipulation and Order, the parties filed a Joint Motion for Entry of Judgment in favor of the Plaintiff and against Defendant Michaeles, as Personal Representative of the Estate, in the amount of $750, 000 in the Wrongful Death Action on July 8, 2015 (the “Joint Motion”). Pursuant to the Joint Motion, the District Court for the District of Arizona entered a final judgment in the Wrongful Death Action in favor of the Plaintiff against the Defendant Michaeles as Personal Representative of the Estate in the amount of $750, 000 on July 9, 2015 (the “Consent Judgment”). Plaintiff Harry DePrins has made demand on Michael J. Michaeles, both as the Personal Representative of the Estate and as the Trustee of the Trust, to convey Trust property to satisfy the Consent Judgment. Defendants have not done so. Plaintiff commenced this action in United States District Court for the District of Arizona on November 28, 2014 to enforce and collect the Consent Judgment from the assets of the Defendant Donald Belanger Irrevocable Trust dated October 28, 2008 (the “Trust”). Upon stipulation of both parties, the action was transferred to this Court.

         The Defendants move for summary judgment, dismissing plaintiff DePrins' Second Amended Complaint, with prejudice, on the grounds that: 1) the one year statute of limitations expired; 2) Belanger's interest in the Trust terminated on March 3, 2009, the date of his death, and as of that date, he had no interest in the Trust to be reached; 3) the spendthrift provision of the Trust precludes DePrins' claim; 4) Massachusetts law holds that a voluntary conveyance to a child is not fraudulent to existing creditors as a matter of law; and 5) DePrins has no admissible evidence the Trust was fraudulently created and that the therefore the Trust is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         Plaintiff files this Motion For Partial Summary Judgment for the reasons that: 1) Plaintiff has shown indisputable facts of a common law, non-statutory reach and apply action to reach the assets of The Donald Belanger Irrevocable Trust Dated October 28, 2008 (the “Trust”) in satisfaction of the Consent Judgment; 2) Plaintiff has shown indisputable facts sufficient to show a statutory reach and apply action under M.G.L. c. 214, s. 3(6) to reach the assets of the Trust in satisfaction of the consent Judgment; and 3) the Trust's assets are reachable even though the Trust instrument contains language stating that it is “irrevocable.”

         Discussion[2]

         Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party establishes that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An issue is “genuine” when the evidence is such that it would permit a reasonable factfinder to find in favor of either party with regards to that particular point. Morris v. Gov't Dev. Bank of Puerto Rico, 27 F.3d 746, 748 (1st Cir. 1994). A fact is “material” when it may affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable law. Id. It is the burden of the moving party to establish the lack of genuine issues of material facts, entitling them to summary judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986). This burden can be made by “offering evidence to disprove an element of the plaintiff's case or by demonstrating an ‘absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case.'” Rakes v. United States, 352 F.Supp.2d 47, 52 (D. Mass. 2005) aff'd, 442 F.3d ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.