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Medeiros Revocable Trust v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 1

July 1, 2019

In re: The MEDEIROS REVOCABLE TRUST, Petitioner/Appellee,
v.
MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC, Respondent/Appellant.

          Mandate Issued: 08/07/2019

          THIS OPINION HAS BEEN RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION BY ORDER OF THE COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS, Division No. 1

Page 534

          APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF COMANCHE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA; HONORABLE LISA E. SHAW, TRIAL JUDGE

         AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED

         Phillip G. Whaley, Grant M. Lucky, RYAN WHALEY COLDIRON JANTZEN PETERS & WEBBER PLLC, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Respondent/Appellant,

         Arthur R. South, Vickie Leyja, Lawton, Oklahoma, for Petitioner/Appellee.

          OPINION

          BRIAN JACK GOREE, CHIEF JUDGE.

Page 535

         [¶1] Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC (Morgan Stanley) filed a motion to compel arbitration and the trial court denied it. We have jurisdiction to review the decision de novo as an interlocutory order appealable by right. Okla. S.Ct. R. 1.60(i); 12 O.S. § 1879(a)(1); Johnson v. Convalescent Center of Grady County, LLC, 2014 OK 102, ¶5, 341 P.3d 71, 73. The primary issue is whether a receiver, who did not sign the agreement containing the arbitration clause, is nevertheless bound by it. We answer yes and reverse.

          I.

          Background

         [¶2] Milton and Pearl Medeiros formed the Medeiros Revocable Trust, naming themselves as trustees. They signed a client agreement and made deposits to an account in California with Citigroup Smith Barney (Smith Barney). The client agreement contained an arbitration clause, the terms of which are undisputed.[1] It is also undisputed that Morgan Stanley is the successor to Smith Barney. Milton and Pearl agreed that their contract would be binding on their assignees or successors in interest as well as successors to Smith Barney.[2]

         [¶3] Pearl Medeiros died in 2015 and was survived by her husband, Milton, her son, Jon Katvala, and her daughter, Karen Stewart. Jon and Karen (Petitioners) filed this suit in Comanche County, Oklahoma, to construe the trust. A few weeks later, Milton, together with his daughter, Kimberly Sue Lafinier, and his step-daughter, Carol A. Phillips, commenced an action in Washoe County, Nevada, asserting a different construction ...


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