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Hardt v. Vitae Foundation
Missouri Court of Appeals
302 S.W.3d 133 (2009)
Selma Hartke’s estate (plaintiff) made two gifts of approximately $4 million to the Vitae Foundation, Inc. (Vitae) (defendant), a charitable corporation. The estate placed terms and conditions on how both gifts were to be used, and Vitae agreed to these terms. Later, the estate’s executors, Edwin and Karl Hardt (plaintiffs), learned that Vitae had not followed the agreed terms and conditions. For instance, Vitae had agreed to use much of the gift money to buy advertising for a particular cause. However, Vitae had not purchased the advertising and was using the money to pay for additional staff instead. The executors sued Vitae on the estate’s behalf, seeking an official accounting of how the gift funds had been used. The estate also asked to have the gift funds either (1) used as originally agreed, (2) returned, or (3) donated to a different charity chosen by the estate. The trial court ruled that the estate lacked standing to sue to enforce the gift’s terms and dismissed the lawsuit. The estate appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, J.)
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