DONALD CRAIG FRIZZELL, individually, and as a beneficiary of the CLIFTON AND MARJORIE FRIZZELL FAMILY TRUST, Plaintiff-Appellant,
EDWIN DEYOUNG, individually, and in his capacity as trustee of the CLIFTON AND MARJORIE FRIZZELL FAMILY TRUST; DARLENE DEYOUNG, individually, and in her capacity as beneficiary of the CLIFTON AND MARJORIE FRIZZELL FAMILY TRUST; and on behalf of the marital community of EDWIN DEYOUNG and DARLENE DEYOUNG, husband and wife, Defendants-Respondents.
Opinion No. 30
from the District Court of the First Judicial District, State
of Idaho, Kootenai County. Hon. Cynthia K.C. Meyer, District
court order dismissing complaint, reversed and remanded.
GiantLegal, PLLC, Spokane, WA, for appellant. Robin L. Haynes
City Law Group, Coeur d'Alene, for respondent. Scot D.
BURDICK, Chief Justice.
Craig Frizzell ("Frizzell") appeals the Kootenai
County district court's dismissal of his complaint.
Frizzell and the defendants, Edwin and Darlene DeYoung
(collectively, the "DeYoungs"), were parties to an
existing trust, with Edwin serving as trustee and Frizzell
and Darlene as beneficiaries. The parties entered into an
agreement pursuant to the Trust and Estate Dispute Resolution
Act ("TEDRA agreement"). The TEDRA agreement was
designed to modify the existing trust terms and also resolve
issues related to Edwin's administration of the trust in
his role as trustee. Two years after the TEDRA agreement was
filed with the district court, Frizzell filed suit against
the DeYoungs alleging Edwin was breaching the TEDRA agreement
and his fiduciary duties. The district court granted the
DeYoungs' motion to dismiss based on provisions in the
TEDRA agreement that purported to hold Edwin harmless for any
actions taken in his role as trustee. The district court also
stated Frizzell was bound by the TEDRA agreement to pursue
nonjudicial dispute resolution, rather than file a lawsuit
for Edwin's breach of duty. Frizzell timely appealed to
this Court. We reverse the district court's order
dismissing Frizzell's complaint and remand for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
and Marjorie Frizzell created a trust ("Trust") in
June of 2009 that contained the various properties and
possessions the couple owned, and provided for their
distribution. Both Clifton and Marjorie passed away in 2011.
Haley Baker was named in the Trust as trustee, but declined
the appointment. Edwin DeYoung was appointed successor
trustee on October 29, 2011. In 2013, Frizzell commenced
litigation regarding the administration of the Trust.
Pursuant to that litigation, the parties entered into a TEDRA
agreement to resolve disputes related to that administration
of the Trust. The TEDRA agreement was filed in district court
on October 31, 2014.
TEDRA agreement modified certain terms of the Trust relating
to what property or money different beneficiaries were to
receive and when they would receive it. The agreement also
contained various provisions purporting to release,
indemnify, and hold Edwin harmless for all actions taken in
his role as trustee. The parties disagree about whether the
release, indemnity, and hold harmless provisions apply only
to claims that arose prior to the TEDRA agreement, or if it
releases Edwin from liability for all past and future claims.
October of 2016, Frizzell filed a complaint in district court
alleging thirteen causes of action relating to Edwin's
administration of the Trust. Frizzell alleged that after the
TEDRA agreement was signed and filed, Edwin did not follow
through with his obligations under the TEDRA agreement and
breached his fiduciary duty. This included Edwin's
failure to notify Frizzell that one of the properties
Frizzell thought he would be receiving as part of the TEDRA
agreement actually was not a part of the Trust at all, but
rather was in the Estate of Marjorie, which was managed by
Edwin's wife (and Frizzell's sister) Darlene.
Frizzell also claimed that Edwin failed to pay all net rental
income to Frizzell, as was required under the TEDRA
agreement. The rental properties generated over $130, 000
during the year but Frizzell only received $6, 123 from
Edwin, and Edwin paid himself $49, 303. Frizzell's
complaint also alleged that Edwin engaged in several other
acts in breach of the TEDRA agreement and in breach of
Edwin's fiduciary duties including: that Edwin directly
competed with Frizzell, Edwin engaged in negligent
supervision of a rental manager, Edwin failed to transfer
Frizzell management of the properties, Edwin failed to
protect trust property, and Edwin failed to provide an
accounting or explain his excessive compensation.
DeYoungs filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the TEDRA
agreement's indemnity, release, and hold harmless
provisions shielded Edwin from any and all liability for his
administration of the Trust. The district court concluded
that the provisions in the TEDRA agreement purporting to hold
Edwin harmless were unambiguous and that the language
indemnifies, releases, and holds Edwin harmless from all
claims, past or future, in Edwin's role as trust
administrator. The district court also concluded that the
TEDRA agreement bound Frizzell to pursue nonjudicial dispute
resolution, or to petition the court to enforce the TEDRA
agreement, rather than file a lawsuit for breach of fiduciary
duty. Accordingly, the district court granted the
DeYoungs' motion to dismiss. The district court also
concluded that because Frizzell was bound to pursue
nonjudicial dispute resolution, his complaint was
unreasonable, frivolous, and without foundation. Therefore,
the district court awarded Edwin attorney fees. Frizzell
ISSUES ON APPEAL
1. Whether the district court erred in dismissing
Frizzell's complaint when it found the TEDRA agreement
shielded Edwin from all liability arising from his role as
2. Whether the district court erred in dismissing
Frizzell's complaint when it found the TEDRA agreement
bound Frizzell to ...