PHILLIP R. SCHLITTLER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS INDEPENDENT EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF CHARLES A. TISDALE, Appellant
THE ESTATE OF ADRIAN F. MEYER, Appellee
Appeal from the County Court at Law Austin County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 14PR-9813
consists of Justices Boyce, Jamison, and Brown.
William J. Boyce Justice
R. Schlittler, individually and as independent executor of
the estate of Charles A. Tisdale, sued the estate of Adrian
F. Meyer, and alleged that Meyer misappropriated assets while
serving as executor of Charles A. Tisdale's estate. The
trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Meyer's
estate, holding that Schlittler's claims were barred by
the applicable four-year statute of limitations.
conclude that the summary judgment evidence failed to
establish as a matter of law the date on which
Schlittler's claims accrued. We reverse and remand for
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
is the grandson of Charles A. Tisdale, who died in 2005.
Charles left the entirety of his estate to his daughter
Connie Tisdale, who was Schlittler's
mother. Connie was named executor of Charles's
estate but died before Charles's will was admitted to
probate court in Iberia Parish, Louisiana oversaw the probate
of Charles's estate. Meyer, Connie's husband and
Schlittler's step-father, was appointed executor of
Charles's estate after Connie's death.
January 2006, Meyer filed with the probate court a petition
to appoint a notary to list the contents of Charles's
safe deposit box located at a Regions Bank branch in New
Iberia, Louisiana. The probate court granted the petition and
a notary opened Charles's safe deposit box in Meyer's
presence on January 31, 2006. The notary filed with the
probate court a "Return of Notary" listing the safe
deposit box's contents, including seven Certificates of
Deposit ("CDs") in the name of "C.A. Tisdale
or Connie L. Meyer." Schlittler alleges that Meyer
subsequently misappropriated three of the CDs found in
Charles's safe deposit box.
December 2012, Schlittler mailed a letter to the probate
court asserting that Meyer "abandoned [Charles's
estate] for nearly 7 years." Schlittler claimed that
Meyer failed to provide any annual accountings for
Charles's estate and asserted that Meyer's current
location was unknown.
mailed a second letter to the probate court in January 2013,
again asserting that Meyer had abandoned Charles's
estate. Schlittler's letter discussed his attempt to
complete a partial accounting of Charles's estate:
Even with the court order I was not able to conduct a partial
accounting on my own. Regions Bank informed me there are
banking privacy rules and regulations that prevented
disclosure of [Charles's] account information. I would
need to be the succession representative to be given account
January 2013, the probate court removed Meyer as executor of
Charles's estate and appointed Schlittler as executor.
received an email from Regions Bank on January 28, 2013,
showing that three of the seven CDs found in Charles's
safe deposit box were "closed" on February 1, 2006,
one day after Charles's safe deposit box was opened. On
January 28, 2013, Schlittler sent a letter to Meyer's
attorney demanding the proceeds from the CDs. He received no
died on March 10, 2014. His wife, Shirley Poppe Meyer, was
appointed executor of his estate.
sued Meyer's estate on March 13, 2015, requesting
declaratory relief and asserting a claim for breach of
fiduciary duty. Schlittler's first amended petition
asserts that the discovery rule tolls the statute of
limitations applicable to his claims. Schlittler served
process on Shirley in her capacity as independent executrix
of Meyer's estate. Shirley answered as executrix of
Meyer's estate and counterclaimed for
filed a traditional summary judgment motion entitled
"Defendant's Second Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment (Statute of Limitations)."Shirley's
summary judgment motion asserted that Schlittler's suit
is barred by the applicable four-year statute of limitations.
See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §
16.004(a)(5) (Vernon 2002).
argued in response that the statute of limitations was tolled
by the discovery rule and asserted that Shirley failed to
"prove as a matter of law that there is no genuine issue
of fact about when [Schlittler] discovered or should have
discovered the nature of the injury." Schlittler stated
that he was unable to discover Meyer's misappropriation
of the CDs until after he was appointed executor of
Charles's estate in January 2013, thereby tolling the
applicable four-year limitations period and making his March
2015 lawsuit timely for limitations purposes.
trial court signed an order granting Shirley's
traditional summary judgment motion on June 22, 2016. The
order did not specify the grounds on which the trial court
granted Shirley's summary judgment motion. Shirley filed
a notice of nonsuit of her ...