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Van Gundy v. Van Gundy

Colorado Court of Appeals
292 P.3d 1201 (2012)


Facts

Eldon Van Gundy (plaintiff) created an irrevocable trust, designating himself as the beneficiary and his son, Quinton Van Gundy (defendant), trustee. Section 8(d) of the trust authorized the trustee to invest trust assets “whether or not such investments be of the character permissible for investments by fiduciaries under any applicable law, and without regard to the . . . diversity of the investments.” Quinton invested trust assets in: (1) common stocks, (2) mutual funds, (3) shares in Crystallex International Company, a Venezuelan gold-mining concern, and (4) stocks bought on margin. From 2008–2009, the value of trust assets plummeted, and Eldon instructed Quinton to liquidate. At the time, 32 percent of the trust assets were invested in a mutual fund. Quinton liquidated the assets, resulting in a $340,000 loss. Eldon sued Quinton in a Colorado court  to quiet title and for breaches of contract, fiduciary duty, and the duty to provide a complete accounting. After a bench trial, the court found Quinton liable for breach of contract on the ground that his purchases on margin and failure to diversify violated the prudent investor rule. Quinton was also held liable for the Crystallex investment. Quinton appealed the decisions regarding his purchases on margin and diversification.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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