Congratulations to attorney John E. Trojack might be premature but they also seem appropriate. Trojack represents Elfi Janssen, a widow in a battle over her former husband’ estate with Anna McCormick, Ms. Janssen’s former husband’s daughter. Janssen’s case was dismissed by the trial court but was revived on appeal and the Minnesota Supreme Court denied defendants’ petition for review a few weeks ago.
Plaintiff’s allegations are that Ms. McCormick got her father to change his estate planning at a time when he was “confused and disoriented” and “rambling and incoherent.” At that time, it is alleged that Ms. McCormick set up an entity, Sibley Holdings where she put all of her assets, so when Janssen sued McCormick based on the misappropriation of the her late husband’s assets, Ms. McCormick could (and did) claim to be penniless and powerless to “make things right.”
The Minnesota Court of Appeals revived the case, however, against both McCormick AND her lawyers at the Lommen Abdo law firm. Ms. Janssen’s lawsuit claims that Ms. McCormick, with the active participation of her lawyers at Lommen Abdo, conspired to make herself insolvent to defraud Plaintiff Elfi Janssen.
Plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Trojack, found himself against a formidable array for the defense: Richard Thomas of Burke & Thomas, and Paul C. Peterson of Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson. And as one who has taken on lawyers defending lawyers, I can fully appreciate the challenges Trojack was up against. But now the case goes back to Hennepin County District Court (maybe back to Judge Thomas Fraser, whose earlier decision was flipped?) and we have to assume that defendants might be somewhat more receptive now to the possibility of a settlement…