Skip to main content


Reset A A Font size: Print

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

RAYMOND LOUBIER IRREVOCABLE TRUST, Noella Loubier Irrevocable Trust, Estate of Gervais A. Loubier, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Noella LOUBIER, Raymond Loubier Revocable Trust, Noella Loubier Revocable Trust, Defendants-Appellees.†

No. 18-1054-cv

Decided: March 20, 2019

PRESENT: PIERRE N. LEVAL, RAYMOND J. LOHIER, JR., Circuit Judges, LEWIS A. KAPLAN,* District Judge. FOR APPELLANTS: Eddi Zyber Zyko, Middlebury, CT. FOR APPELLEES: Howard M. Camerik, Gray Robinson, P.A., Fort Lauderdale, FL (Jeffrey P. Mueller, Day Pitney LLP, Hartford, CT, on the brief).


Plaintiffs appeal from a judgment of the District Court (Eginton, J.) dismissing their case rather than transferring it to the Southern District of Florida. We assume the parties’ familiarity with the underlying facts and the record of prior proceedings, to which we refer only as necessary to explain our decision to affirm.

The District Court did not abuse its discretion when it opted to dismiss rather than transfer the Plaintiffs’ case. See Minnette v. Time Warner, 997 F.2d 1023, 1026 (2d Cir. 1993). In deciding whether it would be in the “interest of justice” to transfer the case to a court with proper jurisdiction, the District Court was entitled to consider (1) whether the claim would be meritless “in the court that has jurisdiction”—that is, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Daniel v. Am. Bd. of Emergency Med., 428 F.3d 408, 436 (2d Cir. 2005) (quotation marks omitted), and (2) the Plaintiffs’ diligence in choosing a proper forum, Spar, Inc. v. Info. Res., Inc., 956 F.2d 392, 394 (2d Cir. 1992).

Both of these factors counseled against transfer here.

First, the Plaintiffs’ case is meritless under Florida law: Neither their trusts nor their estates are distinct legal entities under Florida law capable of bringing suit on their own behalf or being a party to litigation. Raymond Loubier Irrevocable Tr. v. Loubier, 858 F.3d 719, 730 (2d Cir. 2017); Tennyson v. ASCAP, 477 F. App'x 608, 611 (11th Cir. 2012) (“Under Florida law the only party who has the capacity to sue on behalf of an estate is the duly appointed legal representative of the estate.”); Spradley v. Spradley, 213 So.3d 1042, 1045 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2017); 18 Fla. Jur. 2d Decedents' Property § 721. Even if the Plaintiffs did have the capacity to sue, none has a claim for an accounting under Florida law because none is owed a fiduciary duty by any of the Defendants—by virtue, for example, of being a beneficiary of a trust. See Zaki Kulaibee Establishment v. McFliker, 771 F.3d 1301, 1311 (11th Cir. 2014); see Loubier, 858 F.3d at 723–24 & n.4.

Second, the District Court did not err in determining that the Plaintiffs lacked diligence with their choice of a proper forum. Soon after the Plaintiffs first filed their claim in 2013, the Defendants argued that the District Court lacked personal jurisdiction. The Plaintiffs now concede that the facts do not establish personal jurisdiction over the Defendants.

We have considered the Plaintiffs’ remaining arguments and conclude that they are without merit. For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the District Court is AFFIRMED.

Copied to clipboard