Gomez v. SmithAnnotate this Case
Frank Gomez and plaintiff Louise Gomez rekindled their love over 60 years after Frank broke off their first engagement because he was leaving to serve in the Korean War. Frank’s children from a prior marriage, defendants Tammy Smith and Richard Gomez, did not approve of their marriage. After Frank fell ill, he attempted to establish a new living trust with the intent to provide for Louise during her life. Frank’s illness unfortunately progressed quickly. Frank’s attorney, Erik Aanestad, attempted to have Frank sign the new living trust documents the day after Frank was sent home under hospice care. Aanestad unfortunately never got the chance to speak with Frank because Tammy and Richard intervened and precluded Aanestad from entering Frank’s home. Frank, who was bedridden, died early the following morning. Louise sued Tammy and Richard for intentional interference with expected inheritance, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and elder abuse. Tammy filed a cross-complaint against Louise for recovery of trust property. A trial court issued a statement of decision finding in favor of Louise as to her intentional interference with expected inheritance cause of action and in favor of Tammy and Richard as to the remaining causes of action. The trial court also ruled against Tammy on her cross-complaint. Tammy appealed the judgment in favor of Louise; she did not appeal the trial court’s ruling with regard to her cross-complaint. Tammy argued the judgment should have been reversed because: (1) Louise admitted she did not expect to receive an inheritance; (2) Tammy’s conduct was not tortious independent of her interference; (3) the trial court applied an erroneous legal standard in its capacity analysis; (4) there is no substantial evidence to support the finding that Frank had the capacity to execute the trust documents; (5) the trial court’s finding that Tammy knew Louise expected an inheritance is contradicted by the evidence; and (6) alternatively, the constructive trust remedy is fatally ambiguous. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed.