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Duvall v. McGee

826 A.2d 416 (2003)

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Duvall v. McGee

Maryland Court of Appeals

826 A.2d 416 (2003)

Facts

James McGee (defendant) participated in a robbery in which Katherine Ryon was beaten to death. McGee was the beneficiary of a valid spendthrift trust valued at approximately $877,000. Ryon’s estate (plaintiff) sued McGee in tort for Ryon’s death. The parties settled the tort claim with an agreement that (1) McGee owed the estate $100,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages, and (2) the estate would not collect the judgment by garnishing or trying to take the money that the trust distributed to McGee. Instead, the estate attempted to satisfy the judgment directly from the assets that were still in the trust. The trustee refused to pay, claiming that the spendthrift trust’s assets were protected from any claims by McGee’s creditors, including Ryon’s estate. The estate sued to force the trustee to pay the judgment. The trial court found that the spendthrift trust’s assets were protected from the tort judgment. The estate appealed, and the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a writ of certiorari to review the issue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bell, C.J.)

Dissent (Battaglia, J.)

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