Breslin v. BreslinAnnotate this Case
The Court of Appeal affirmed the probate court's approval of a settlement that excluded the nonparticipating parties as beneficiaries. The court concluded that the probate court has the power to order the parties into mediation, which the probate court did so here. In this case, the Pacific parties received notice of the mediation, but chose not to participate. The court explained that had the Pacific parties appeared at the initial probate hearing, for which they received notice, they would have had the opportunity to object to mediation. Instead, the Pacific parties waited until after the mediation, for which they also received notice, in addition to notices of continuances, to finally object to the result.
The court rejected the Pacific parties' contention that the trustee failed in his duty to deal impartially with all beneficiaries, concluding that all interested parties received notification of the mediation, had an opportunity to participate, and the Pacific parties' failure to participate was not the fault of the trustee. The court also rejected the Pacific parties contentions that the trustee breached fiduciary duties for personal profit, and that the trustee failed to keep them reasonably informed about the mediation and his intent to execute the settlement agreement. Furthermore, the court concluded that there was no extrinsic fraud.